Eagles magazine highlights Quakertown student

Gabe DaCosta, one of the most pop­u­lar stu­dents at Quakertown Community High School, is high­light­ed in the November 1st Eagles Gameday Magazine.

The pro­file, on Page 16, explains how Gabe devel­oped cere­bral pal­sy from his pre­ma­ture birth and now spends most of his time in a wheel­chair. It also reveals details of his charm­ing per­son­al­i­ty, includ­ing his “expres­sive eyes and rum­bling laugh.”

The recog­ni­tion from the Eagles came to Gabe as he is an ambas­sador for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where he receives his med­ical care. As an ambas­sador, Gabe rep­re­sents the thou­sands of chil­dren diag­nosed with cere­bral pal­sy and has his sto­ry shared to show why it’s worth sup­port­ing insti­tu­tions like CHOP, which strives to cre­ate break­throughs for young peo­ple like Gabe.

“I’m just so proud of my son,” said Anthony DaCosta, Gabe’s dad. “As a par­ent, when your child gets rec­og­nized, there’s a sat­is­fac­tion for his accom­plish­ment.”

Though it’s dif­fi­cult for Gabe to com­mu­ni­cate, stu­dents and fac­ul­ty at QCHS grav­i­tate to him for his warm per­son­al­i­ty and infec­tious smile. “Everytime I see him he’s always ready for the high five,” Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said. “Gabe’s spir­it, day in and day out, is a true high­light for our stu­dents.”

Mr. DaCosta, boys bas­ket­ball coach at QCHS, said that as a par­ent he was appre­hen­sive when Gabe began high school because of his son’s phys­i­cal chal­lenges. Those fears quick­ly dis­si­pat­ed as “peo­ple took to him. It gave us peace of mind. It was tremen­dous to see him going through high school.”

As the mag­a­zine pro­file points out, “While Gabriel may not be able to speak, his expres­sive eyes and rum­bling laugh, as well as his quick wit with his com­mu­ni­ca­tion device, keep us all informed as to his wants, needs and desires. Gabriel has far exceed­ed ini­tial expec­ta­tions. While he uses a wheel­chair to get around and an iPad to com­mu­ni­cate, he doesn’t miss much. He went to his senior prom and walked across the stage at his grad­u­a­tion using a spe­cial walk­er. Gabriel is sure to charm you with his smile and knowl­edge of foot­ball and bas­ket­ball.”

Indeed, Gabe grad­u­at­ed with the Class of 2019. He cur­rent­ly is part of the district’s ASPIRE pro­gram. ASPIRE stands for Acquiring Skills Professionalism, Independence and Responsibility for Education/Employment. It’s for stu­dents ages 18 to 21, who may have a men­tal or phys­i­cal chal­lenge that calls for more school­ing to help them pre­pare to nav­i­gate the world after high school.

“Quakertown and CHOP have been very sup­port­ive and my wife and I are very appre­cia­tive,” Mr. DaCosta said. “It’s brought warmth to our heart.”