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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Freshman Grant Branaugh inspires school-wide support, sea of yellow

Students rally in solidarity, igniting awareness for microcephaly

Wearing yellow on Oct. 2, students and staff showed their support for freshman Grant Branaugh who has microcephaly.

Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected and often results in smaller brains which may not have developed properly.  According to the CDC, researchers estimate that approximately one in every 800-5,000 babies in the United States is born with microcephaly.

Grant was diagnosed with this as a newborn baby. It can occur because a baby’s brain hasn’t developed correctly during pregnancy or stops growing after birth. Despite having microcephaly, Branaugh is an active student who has made an impression on his teachers.

“Grant is a young man with a huge personality who has his own way of communicating with people,” special education teacher Cooper Anthony said. “I think he’s a bright spot of your day if you go to school here.”

On that Monday, students and staff were asked to wear yellow to show support for Grant and his condition. Similar to how pink represents breast cancer, the color yellow represents microcephaly. The official National Microcephaly Awareness Day was on Sept. 30. Since that was a Saturday, Branaugh’s teachers decided that Monday would be the best day to celebrate him since Sept. 29 was Homecoming and already a spirit day. That decision allowed for students to not have to choose between supporting a fellow classmate or celebrating their school pride on a spirit day.

“Monday showed me that no matter what a student is facing in their life, this school will still support each other, which is very cool to see,” special education teacher Amanda Siemers said. “If only we could’ve gotten a whole school picture, the amount of yellow from both students and staff was so cool.”

While the school supported Branaugh, the roles will be flipped this upcoming winter as he will be involved in one of his loves–basketball.

“In my opinion, Grant is a good little athlete,” Anthony, who is also the head boys basketball coach, said. “He has great hand-eye coordination and knows how to throw a ball around.”

Grant hopes to continue his interest by being intertwined with the basketball team. Anthony hopes to get him involved. He doesn’t know what it will look like, but an idea as of now is to have him come to practice for 30 minutes or so to help out with the team. The basketball team is excited to have him involved.

“The possibility of having Grant around the team more is very cool,” junior basketball player Talan Hovie said. “I think it would be a cool experience for him as well.”

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About the Contributor
Drew Rhoades, Reporter
Drew Rhoades is a junior at GEHS and was on the Gretna Media staff at Gretna High last year.  This year he is on the GEHS Wingspan staff. He serves as a reporter and photographer. He won sixth place in Sports News Writing at the NSAA High School State Journalism competition. He joined journalism to take pictures of sports and write articles about them.  From taking great action shots to writing about a close game of football, Rhoades is always busy and working hard. Outside of journalism he plays golf, basketball and hangs out with his friends. While journalism is not something he plans on doing in the future, he still wants to use his skills throughout his life. 
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    Susan CrewdsonOct 14, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    Great job Grant. Your always smiling big heart enjoy your basketball season

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