Wednesday, February 21, 2018

12-year-old's wish of trip to Walt Disney World Resort is granted

By Meredith Shamburger
Nov. 10, 2017 at 11:06 p.m.

Connie Harper of the Make-A-Wish Foundation informs Peyton Nichols, 12, on Friday at Hallsville Junior High School that the foundation will be granting his wish to go to Walt Disney World Resort. Nichols was surprised with the news during a staged class assembly and was greeted by Hallsville High School band students dressed up as  Star Wars characters.

HALLSVILLE — A group of Make-A-Wish granters, his parents and a troupe of Star Wars characters surprised Hallsville sixth-grader Peyton Nichols on Friday afternoon. He would finally get his dream of going to Walt Disney World Resort.

Peyton, 12, immediately jumped up and down in excitement before hugging the characters from his favorite movie — even the storm troopers. His sixth-grade classmates were busy cheering him on, having been assembled in the Hallsville Junior High School auditorium for a fake assembly.

"When do you want to go?" Make-A-Wish granter Connie Harper asked Peyton.

"ASAP!" Peyton replied.

Peyton was born 15 weeks early, weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces. His mother, Katie Nichols, says Peyton came home on a ventilator and has experienced developmental delays, as well as a chronic lung condition and feeding issues.

But he also loves anything Star Wars, and Friday at school he was lauded for his kind attitude and his multitude of friends.

That's how Hallsville Junior High School Principal Amy Whittle got Peyton up onstage. She hosted a "drawing" for this grading period's Super Cool Cats prize, a big Yoda toy.

"Peyton, tell me how you got all these super cool cats?" Whittle said. "You don't know how you got super cool cats? What super cool things do you do at school? ... You do have a lot of friends. You have a lot of friends because you're so nice to people."

Just as Peyton was about to walk off the stage, Whittle stopped him.

"Well, I think there may be some other surprises for you behind this curtain," she said. "Can I have them, or do you want them?"

The curtain opened to a bevy of Hallsville band students dressed up as Star Wars characters, with a sign saying "Happy Wish Day." Peyton's mom, Katie, and dad, Andy, were off to the side, watching his excitement.

"We are super excited," Katie Nichols said before the big reveal. "We've known about it, the trip ... three weeks? We've known for a few weeks, and it's been hard to keep it a secret.

"He is going to be, I think, really excited, because he keeps saying 'Mom, when are we going to get our wish? Are we going to get our wish?' "

Katie Nichols works at the school, and she says it was tough keeping everything from Peyton as she helped organize the surprise.

"I've been doing a lot of work, and my co-workers have been doing a lot of work," she said. "I have a stash of things in my classroom, and it's all in the back of my car now because I can bring it home."



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