An award-winning friendship

MASON CITY, Iowa – A pair of north Iowa high school students received an award today; not for anything scholastic, but for an overwhelmingly strong friendship.

Mason City Senior Sadee Koehler and Junior Kaleb Kloster met through an organization called “Best Buddies.”

It’s a group designed to connect a regularly paced education student with one who has a learning disability.

Kaleb has autism, which is a disorder that makes learning in a normal setting a little bit of a struggle.

Koehler says that even though his learning capabilities for things in school might be behind his peers, his ability to learn how to interact and make friends with others is not.

At the beginning of their pairing, it was just that, a set up done by the Best Buddies organization, however it slowly transitioned into so much more than that, and it turned into an amazing friendship.

“He has help me so much,” she says, “just accomplish so much and just getting in the confidence that I needed to know I can do this that I have become something and, it just makes me feel loved.”

The two received one of the highest honors available from Best Buddies Iowa and that was for being the one on one or, “1:1 Best Buddy Friendship.”

It was a relationship they never expected to see happen, but as they got to know one another more and more, they knew that their bond was something they’ll need to continue even after Sadee graduates.

“It didn’t seem possible in the beginning but, he has just grown up with so much support from all of the best buddies and it’s just been amazing for him.”

Sadee will be attending NIACC in the fall and says that because she has gotten so close to Kaleb and his family, she will do whatever it takes to make sure their friendship stays alive.

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