On October 1, 2009, 14-year-old Jared Williams, at the time a freshman defensive back on the Pinkston High School varsity football team, was paralyzed from the waist down in a game against North Dallas High School. As The News would explain a few days later: "He had struck his head against another player's knee. He had lost feeling in his legs."
In the months that followed, the school, a West Dallas homebuilder and high schools teams from around the Dallas Independent School District would rally around Jared and Arlenna Williams, Jared's mother and a teaching assistant at Pinkston. Through something called Project 24, so named for Jared's number at Pinkston, they raised pennies enough to build a new home in which Arlenna, a single mom also raising a young daughter, could better care for her son, who would return to school in January 2010 in a wheelchair.
For several reasons explained here, You+Dallas decided to do a five-part look at the impact of Jared's injury. In short:
High school students have the ability to initiate and participate in important community and people focused projects, our principals and coaches have the ability to lead, and the people of North Texas have the capacity to give. So the question before us is whether or not Project 24 is a one-time deal or something larger, more important. As you think about your answer, consider that almost a year to the day of Jared's accident, Diondre Preston, Molina High School's starting quarterback and best athlete, suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a game against Pinkston High School.
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What you see above is a trailer for the upcoming series.