Act of kindness

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Windsor High School seniors Lyndsey Paschal and Carson Rensch went to Saturday’s Homecoming dance together. -- SUBMITTED

Windsor classmates choose grieving student for homecoming king

WINDSOR—Sally Rensch knows the difficulties an autistic child faces.

Those challenges worsened on June 22, when her autistic son, Carson, lost his father in a car accident.

“We didn’t know if he would understand,” Rensch said. “He understands. It was really hard. He still gets very upset.”

In hopes of giving Carson’s life a little happiness, a classmate at Windsor High School nominated the 20-year-old for Homecoming king. He was crowned during Saturday’s dance.

“I felt happy and jumped for joy,” Carson said. “I didn’t know they were going to do that.”

“I was touched,” Rensch added. “It let him have a high school experience and brought so much joy with my husband’s accident.”

John Rensch, 47, was killed in a head-on collision on Route 258 near Windsor. Retired from the Navy and employed by Huntington-Ingalls shipyard, he also left behind daughters Jillian, 23, and Elizabeth, 26, both of Carrsville.

Windsor senior Lyndsey Paschal had heard about Carson losing his father.

“We wanted to do something different (for Homecoming) and not make it a popularity contest, but to recognize other people in the school,” Lyndsey said. “We heard he was going through a hard time. We wanted to give him something to remember.”

Molly Nelms, faculty sponsor for the Student Government Association and sponsor of Homecoming, said Carson won by a landslide.

“I thought that it was a great show of support,” added Josh Harris, a special needs teacher at Windsor who works with Carson.

Lyndsey, the daughter of Mindy and Tim Paschal, also asked Carson to be his date for the dance. She asked Carson’s mom for permission.

“I thought it would be a good idea to get him out there and let him have a good time,” Lyndsey said.

“He has been (to dances) with other girls who had autism or Aspergers (a form of autism), but never with a typical student,” said Rensch, a senior elementary education major at Chowan University.

When Carson was named king, the 6-foot-3, 258-pound senior jumped up and down, his mother said.

“I know it helped him take his mind off (his father’s death), Rensch said. “It gave him something to look forward to. It gave us something to be happy about. We’ve been going through so much stuff. The whole grieving process was awful; it’s still awful.”