KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 16, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy ISD's Tompkins High School varsity football team has many fans. But by far, the Falcons' most loyal supporter is Abby Ishee-Dunn, a sophomore with Down syndrome. This weekend, the team walked onto the field with Abby instead of making their usual spirited team run.
10th Grader with Down Syndrome Loves Her Falcons Team
16 year-old Abby Ishee-Dunn is a 10th grader at Tompkins High School. For Abby, a student with Down syndrome, supporting the school's football team has become a life-changing hobby. She became interested in the team when she saw them at a school pep rally. Her support for the Falcons has grown into a special connection with the team.
"It is hard getting her included during the academic day with the priorities put on academics, so we're always looking for ways to help her feel connected to her peers," says Abby's mom, Teri Dunn. "It's been amazing to see her be embraced by the team. This truly means so much to her and our family."
"When it became obvious that Abby was a huge Tompkins football fan I connected with Christie Archibald, who runs the Tompkins football Facebook page," says Dunn. "She's been amazing at connecting Abby with the team. It's through her that Saturday was made possible."
Coach McVey Invited Abby to Game, Gave Her a Gift
Tompkins head football coach Todd McVey invited Abby to accompany the team on the field at their game this weekend.
"We met up with the team before the game. They were all so nice and were very quick to say hi to Abby," says Dunn.
Abby has grown up in Katy and has been in Katy school since kindergarten so she knows several of the football players as they have gone to school together.
"Coach McVey gave her a special bracelet. It's a great big family and they welcomed her with open arms," adds Dunn.
"At first I was worried that Abby would get trampled because normally they storm out on the field, but I was told that while most of the team would run out, some were going to stay back and walk with Abby."
Abby Escorted Team on the Field
When it was time to go out on the field though, the team made a big change. Instead of being in the back with a few players, Abby was front and center walking hand-in-hand, leading out the entire Tompkins football team. She was right next to her favorite player and friend, Colby Huerter, who takes time to always sit and eat with her when her family visits the barbecue restaurant where he works.
That night, Abby supported and cheered her team on to a major 65-0 win over Alvin High School.
Team, Cheerleaders Surprised Abby at Sweet 16 Party
This isn't the first time the team has made Abby feel special. Her support of the Falcons earned her a big birthday surprise last July when several of the football players and cheerleaders showed up at her 16th birthday party. Read more about the sweet surprise.
Part of the Falcons Family
Abby is mostly non-verbal but her mom says that it's obvious what a lasting impression this team has on her. The young girl is making a picture collage of the event to hang in her room.
"It's a privilege to be part of this Falcons family," says Dunn.