CHARACTER COUNTS

Casteel High’s Cooper Christensen gives back in the community

Dec 25, 2017, 12:01 PM
Cooper Christensen, back-center (Photo courtesy Tiffany Christensen)...
Cooper Christensen, back-center (Photo courtesy Tiffany Christensen)
(Photo courtesy Tiffany Christensen)

A little more than a year from now, Casteel High School junior Cooper Christensen will receive his degree with the first graduating class at the Queen Creek school. Doing so, he’ll be setting the bar pretty high for the graduating classes that follow.

The captain of the basketball team plays point guard, and it makes sense considering his willingness to lend a hand to others.

Among the selfless activities that Christensen has gotten involved in, he’s especially drawn to one: Supporting special needs students at Casteel.

Christensen helped start up the Colt Crew, serving as vice president and now sheriff for the special education club.

“I’d be sitting at lunch and I was my friends, and I’d look over and the special education students were just eating at a table by themselves with the teachers,” Christensen said. “I was like, ‘You know, I’m going to go over there and start talking to them and be their friends.'”

His desire to befriend the special needs kids became much more than that. With the help of another student and his teachers, Christensen got the club going. They plan community events to help regular education students bond with their special needs peers.

Christensen FaceTimes and texts with some of the students daily. He checks in on them between classes and even helps one student with diabetes get insulin shots at the nurse’s office every day.

“Every since a young age I’ve had a love for them and helping them become one of us and just another person at school,” Christensen said.

He also helps special needs students through Unified Sports, which allows special needs students to play one another with the help of peers like Christensen.

Beyond that, Christensen helps plan community service projects through the Interact Club.

In the community, he’s done everything from helping with a golf tournament that supported a person suffering from cerebral palsy to helping out rotary members to running in events to raise money for an expensive wheelchair.

“He has a great ability to look outward,” Cooper’s father said. “Cooper, since he was a little toddler, was always about others. He was always about sharing.”

In school, Christensen sports a 4.2 GPA. While he has the rest of his junior year and his senior year left, he already has a career path in mind.

Christensen hopes to study sports law, and doing so nearby at Arizona State University is more than appealing.

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Casteel High’s Cooper Christensen gives back in the community