The most inspirational news item being shared since its launch May 2, 2014, is one that shines light on our country’s youngest generation. One young man, Austin Dennison, is proof positive that his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents raised him right. He’s come to national attention because of a private decision he made to honor his great-grandmother and make a childhood dream of hers come true. That’s all Austin wanted, but his stellar kindness has found its way across the Internet because people simply want to share the sweet joy of a young man’s thoughtfulness.
Dennison’s Facebook cover photo shows a handsome young man, pictured with four of his teammates in baseball uniforms. But, it’s his inset Facebook photo one that is currently sweeping across every media outlet on the Internet today. There’s no mention or comment of that photo on his page, to public view at least; nevertheless, the picture speaks volumes. His Twitter page, though, tells you volumes about him. His philosophy of life?
The world tells you to follow your heart. I tell you, from the words of a wiser man, instead lead your heart and be intentional with the direction you choose.
Austin Dennison is a senior at Parkway High School this year, and he’s one very handsome young man, a “big man on campus” no doubt, because he’s also an athlete, part of the Parkway Panthers, there are at least five likely young women who would be thrilled to have him ask them to their prom this year. But Austin had other plans for his Rockford, Ohio, senior prom.
Listen to Renee Montagne’s story on NPR’s Morning Edition, posted online May 2, 2014, and be uplifted to hear the story of Austin and his 89-year-old great-grandmother, Dolores, who is known to Austin as “Granny DD.” Montagne notes:
Austin remembered his Granny DD wasn’t able to go to her own prom because her family didn’t have enough money. So Austin asked the 89-year-old to be his date, even arranged for a special song to be played at the dance. It was a Frank Sinatra tune his date’s late husband used to sing to her: this song, “Dolores."
If that doesn’t make you smile, nothing will. From Dennison’s Facebook page, the public posts that are visible, Austin is just a young man who’s “the real deal.” In addition to his participation in baseball, just a few months ago he earned his Boy Scout status as an Eagle Scout. He’s also into music, like any other teenager, enjoying Rhythm and Blues, Hip-Hop, and the music of Jonathan Burkey and the band, The Spark.
But, Austin thought enough of his great-grandmother to have “her song” played at “her prom.” To see a video of them dancing together, check out the accompanying video posted by YouTube user FreshCutNews, which is the sweetest thing you’re going to see all month. You can see the emotion in Granny DD’s face as she hears “her song,” being held and gently moved across the dance floor by her very own great-grandson. Words can’t do justice to what the film clip shows.
In 2014, so much history and hype surrounds the senior prom, which has grown from classic high school function to, today, a major life event such that each Spring, seniors across America think of nothing else except prom, and waiting on college acceptance letters.
Like every other graduating senior in high school, the annual senior prom is on the minds of all who attend Parkway High School in Rockford, Ohio. Girls have waited all year, hoping to be invited to the prom by the young man of their dreams. In today’s age, perhaps these girls ask guys out first. No matter the times, her parents, if they can afford it, save money to provide funds for a very special prom dress, hairstyle, and manicure for a very special day, the most important day, prior to high school graduation, which signals her passage into (almost) full adulthood. But, there are tough economic times today, and not everyone’s dreams can come true today, if those dreams include attending prom.
Austin Dennison is indeed a typical American teenager, in Midwest America’s Ohio, a high school senior who plays baseball for his school, and has volunteered hundreds of hours to his community to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. That’s what a simple glance at his Facebook page shows. His choice of prom dates for one of the most memorable rites of passage for young people today is one of the best pictures on Facebook.
From May 2012, another of Austin’s Facebook (cover) photos would make a certain famous Texas resident really proud. It says simply, “Chuck Norris approved.” That legendary celebrity, whose legendary work with young people across Houston and the Brazos Valley in his own “Kickstart Kids” program, would definitely approve of Austin Dennison and consider him a hero.
The story of Austin Dennison and his love for his great-grandmother is one to share. His tie and handkerchief of his tuxedo matches DD’s dress, as it should. Dolores Dennison is one very lucky lady, who waited 70 years to see her dreams come true. And surely, if you asked her, it was more than worth the wait. Best wishes for an assuredly bright future to Austin Dennison, a man with a great head on his shoulders, and a lot of love in his heart.