RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s not every day a person gets to meet his or her favorite sports star. But then again, Caleb Hill is not like every other young man.
“You look at a kid like Caleb, and you’re like, ‘wow, I want that kid to be my buddy,'” said Jake Tuggle, one of Caleb’s former classmates at Wheatmore High School in Randolph County. “He really just gave everybody in the whole school a reason why we should do it for him.”
Caleb was chosen to meet former football star Tim Tebow by his classmates through the Dream on 3 Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grants sports dreams to kids with life-altering conditions or developmental disabilities.
Caleb and his parents Teresa and Steven Hill were floored when they received a knock on the door last month.
“We didn’t know any of the plans until a Wednesday. And then Friday, we were on a jet headed toward Alabama,” Steven Hill said. “It was kind of a whirlwind.”
The family attended the Alabama/ Arkansas game, and Caleb even got to help Tebow on the set of SEC Football Nation where he’s an analyst.
By all accounts, it was a perfect weekend that that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for his former classmates, including Jake Tuggle. He is in college now but helped bring the organization to Wheatmore High School as a senior.
“The biggest thing with sports is they’re leaders,” Jake said. “There are a certain amount of leaders in this world, and a lot of them come from sports. Caleb found the true leader, not only in sports but also spiritually.”
Their classmates embraced the effort as part of Wheatmore’s Junior Dream Team.
“It brings happiness to me, and it also brings happiness to other people reaching out and helping kids,” Bryce Griffin said. “I know helping people is just a good thing, and it can bring up people’s feelings. You meet new friends, meet new people, and it just makes you an all-around better person.”
The students managed to raise $13,000 selling t-shirts, wristbands and spaghetti dinners to send Caleb on the trip at no cost to his family.
“All you hear is the negative of what the teenagers and the young twenties do. But these guys on Caleb’s Dream Team really restores your faith in humanity sometimes because they were super nice people,” Steven said. “They loved Caleb. Caleb loved them. They were good role models for Caleb, and they worked hard to raise the money that sent him on the trip.”
Caleb is the first student in all of Randolph County selected to live out his dream as part of the Dream on 3 Foundation. Originally, he was set to go on the trip last year, but the COVID-19 Pandemic delayed it.
The Junior Dream Team’s goal is to see the organization spread to other schools in Randolph County and beyond.