Blue Valley High School’s Joe Schuchardt sees the positive side of life.
“I was born at 28 weeks,” says Joe. “I was meant to be here to make a difference.”
Joe Schuchardt is confined to a wheelchair, but that hasn’t stopped him.
Blue Valley Athletic Director Matt Ortman will tell anyone who asks that Joe is the biggest Tiger sports fan.
The football team named him a co-captain for the first football game at home against Shawnee Mission Northwest. He went out to the center of the field for the coin toss before the game with the other four captains.
“I was honored and blessed beyond belief that they chose me,” he says. “I felt so much a part of the team.”
The team also gave him a jersey.
“I asked Joe if he played football, what number would he be,” says Head Football Coach Eric Driskell. “He thought about it for a bit and decided he would be number two.
“I was puzzled because I couldn’t think of a famous person that wore number two. So I asked him why he chose number two. He said it is because he is never first at anything. My heart sank, thinking this is a sad story. Then Joe explained the reason he is not first is because his puts God, his family, and his friends before himself. This is the kind of young man he is.”
The football players appreciate Joe and his enthusiasm for the team.
“I have known Joe for a while and he is simply a great person,” says senior quarterback Colton McCumber. “I have never met a nicer person in my life.”
Senior defensive end Jeff Gurley adds, “The greatest thing about Joe is that he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He is always trying to better those around him and make other people happy. He is one of the most thoughtful people I know.”
“His enthusiasm and approach to life is something we all look up to,” says senior linebacker Jake Watkins, “He is really part of the team and we wouldn’t want to have anyone else by our side.”
Joe is involved with all sports at Blue Valley plus he volunteered at a camp called Camp Barnabas in Monette, Mo., during the summer months.
“It is a camp for kids with disabilities and their siblings,” says Joe. “This camp is very dear to my heart. I was the chaplain at this camp.”
Schuchardt enjoys his time with the football team.
“I have loved every single minute no matter if we win or lose,” he says. “I remember when it was pouring rain at a BV district game. My dad kept asking if I wanted to leave but I wasn’t leaving for anything. Superintendent Trigg was amazed at my fortitude. We won the game by the way.
The young man is enjoying his time at Blue Valley High School.
“I was born to be a Tiger,” he says. “Mr. Bacon, the principal at BV, always says ‘It’s a great day to be a Tiger,’ and I couldn’t agree with him more. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else for high school.
“It is the best school in the country. BV has always been there for me. Everyone has accepted me with my disability and yet treated me like a normal person.
“Mr. Bacon has sets a great example for kids like me to succeed,” he continues. “I appreciate the opportunity to learn. They have given me respect and dignity. I will always hold BV close to my heart.”
Schuchardt has plans for after high school.
“After graduation, I would like to attend the University of Missouri,” he says. “I want to pursue a degree in social work. My dream job is counseling abused children in the inner city of St. Louis. And I would love to continue coaching from the sidelines.”