The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) throws a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series semifinal at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 19, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Aggies defeat Gators 6-0 to advance to first College World Series finals
Kolton Becker, Sports Writer • June 20, 2024

There’s always a first for everything.  For the first time in program history, Texas A&M baseball is headed to the Men’s College...

Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Sixth sense
June 18, 2024
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024
Advertisement
Enjoying the Destination
Enjoying the Destination
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life Writer • June 17, 2024

For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved...

Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Buddies for a lifetime

Tyrel+Dodson+is+tied+for+first+in+interceptions+and+leads+the+team+in+sacks.
Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Tyrel Dodson is tied for first in interceptions and leads the team in sacks.

Tyrel Dodson could only think of the happiness his loved ones felt at home in Tennessee when the sophomore linebacker ran into the open field after intercepting a slip-screen pass and taking it back 40 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter against Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) last Saturday.
There were days in his past that Dodson had to search a little harder to find that absolute happiness and in high school, he found it in a classmate named William Gawlas – a student in the special education class.
“I used to have a bad day and just go in to P.E., he’d be right there hugging on me,” Dodson said. “It makes me so happy that he’s like that.”
Dodson soon became involved in the Best Buddies program, which forms relationships between volunteers and students with Down Syndrome, at Centennial High School in Franklin, Tennessee — a suburb southwest of Nashville. From there, his relationship with Gawlas grew tighter.
“He was just bright,” Dodson said of Gawlas. “Every time I looked at him I was like, wow, there’s something about that kid. Me and him became best friends throughout high school and I still talk to him, call him sometimes.”
Named Mr. Tennessee Football his senior season, Dodson said he could always count on Gawlas to be there in the stands on Friday nights.
“William and Tyrel mostly hung out around school together — eating lunch, talking about the week’s game,” Jennifer Beasley, Centennial High School teacher, said. “My favorite thing every football Friday was after the games — win or lose — William had to go to the field and find Ty so he could hug and talk [about] the game. No matter how many people were there to see Ty, he always made time for William.”
Now over 750 miles away from one of his best friends, Dodson said he keeps up with Gawlas through occasional phone calls or texts, but makes sure to see him in person when he comes home to Tennessee.
“When I do get a chance to go back home, I’m always at the high school in the Best Buddies program seeing William,” Dodson said.
Those at Centennial High School are always excited to see Dodson on his return trips.
“When he comes home, he makes sure he has a chance to run by the Transition II class to visit with William and his classmates,” Beasley said.
While away in College Station, Dodson has emerged as the middle anchor of the Aggies’ linebacker corps and currently leads the team in sacks (2.0), tied for the lead in interceptions (2) and is second in tackles (20).
“Dodson has had a solid three games and has flashed at times, but has been a solid MIKE linebacker,” Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said after Saturday’s win over ULL.
Still, Dodson said he finds inspiration from Gawlas, who cheers him on from back home in Tennessee.
“He keeps me motivated because he might not have the things I have, but he’s just as happy as I am,” Dodson said. “That pushes me every day when I get up. “He just brings light into my life and I love getting to hang out with him.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Tyrel Dodson and William Gawlas were part of the Best Buddies program at Centennial High School in Franklin, Tennessee.

    Photo by Courtesy

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *