The boys from the St. John Vianney Catholic School 5/6th Grand Boys' Soccer team received a some heartwarming accolades from the mother of one of the boys on their competitions' team after showing an great act of sportsmanship at a game recently. The woman who wrote the letter, Karen DeVries, is the mother of a young boy named Charlie who attends Grand Rapids Christian Middle School and has Down Syndrome. Her son took part in a game against St. John Vianney, and the outpouring of support from the St. John Vianney team for her son prompted DeVries to write the letter. See what she had to say after the jump!

Hi Greg,

My name is Karen DeVries.
I have a son that plays on the 5/6 grade boys soccer team from Grand Rapids Christian Middle School.

Our boys played your boys yesterday, and I am asking if you would express gratitude to your students.

I have copied our GRC Middle School principal, athletic director and the 5/6 boys soccer coach on this email so they can enjoy and share in gratitude and recognition of your 5/6 young men, as well.

Our Charlie has Down syndrome. He is blessed through his classmates every day at school and has been encouraged by his teammates throughout the year on his soccer team. They make sure during practice and games that they give Charlie a chance to get his foot on the ball and they give him a chance to score when they scrimmage or play a game against the other GRC team.

Yesterday, your boys bumped that up a notch!

It was the second half of the game. Charlie had a few chances to kick the ball and pass it to the rousing cheers of parents every time he touches the ball. The GRC boys were passionately trying to get Charlie the ball and get him in the position to try to take a shot.

This is where your 5/6 coach recognized what they were trying to do, and call out to his players. They caught on to the fact that he was asking them to cooperate with our team to give Charlie a chance.

Charlie dribbled down the field as if he was on a fast break (not really moving that fast!) and his teammates ran alongside him. He dribbled all the way to the goal and your goalie made a "failing" attempt to stop it. Charlie scored! Yea Charlie! Yea for all the boys on the field and ALL the parents who were able to tell their boys how proud they were of them on the way home.

PLEASE pass this email along to your coach and your athletic director.

Also, I ask the the boys hear my thank you.

And, might I suggest that their classmates hear about how these young men served God through their kindness and encouragement. Not only did Charlie experience that.....but his friends who were "feeding" Charlie the ball were encouraged by them as well.

In Him,

The letter was posted on St. John Vianney's Facebook page, along with a message from the school's principal:

Dear Parents,

Please read the email below forwarded from Mrs. DeVries in regards to our 5th/6th Grade Soccer Team. Athletics give us the opportunity to glorify God in many ways, but of course, the most important of these is in Jesus' great commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you." The email below may very well be the single best email I have received as a principal. I consider it both an honor and a blessing that I get to be your child's principal. The staff and students have been spending a lot of time focusing on translating faith in words into faith in action. The story forwarded below is a fantastic example of our students doing exactly that.

Coach Augdahl I thank you for your hard work this season and what a wonderful job helping these young men put their faith into action. This is what sports are truly all about!

Great job, St. John Vianney Boys' Soccer Team! We here at WGRD salute you, too!