Miami County local awarded prestigious R.A. Horn award

Courtesy image.

PIQUA—Gabe Dancer, who was born at just 27 weeks old weighing 13 oz. has defied so many odds and forged forward, accomplished many milestones already.

Dancer was one of the smallest babies born in Indiana, who breathed on their own and his story was aired nationally. He spent six months in the NICU; and went home weighing 5 lbs.

His early arrival required a GIK Tube for the first 12 years of his life. He spent years attending OT, PT, ST, and seeing numerous specialists.

As a child he was homeschooled and then he attended the Nicholas School in Piqua. This school incorporates Neuro-Developmental training into its daily curriculum. Gabe went on to visit other schools and he chose Piqua City Schools for his high school experience where he thrived!

Gabe has been awarded the R.A. Horn award. This award is presented to one exemplary special education student from each of Ohio’s 16 State Support Team regions. This award was established 25 years ago by the Ohio Department of Education in honor of the late Dr. Raymond A. Horn, Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction Emeritus. This prestigious award recognizes students’ remarkable performance. Acknowledged as a national leader in the field of special education, Dr. R.A. Horn devoted more than 60 years of service to improving the quality of life and learning for students with disabilities. Dr. Horn left behind a legacy and a challenge to ensure that every student with a disability be given the respect and the opportunities to which they are entitled.

Gabe was nominated for this award by Piqua City Schools in conjunction with UVCC.

The nominations are heartfelt and when you read these words, it is clear “The Dancer Way” has encouraged others and brought so much joy, light, and happiness to everyone around him. A few excerpts from the letters say this: He is the ultimate “hype” guy, Gabe is filled with joy and that joy is contagious! Having Gabe Dancer in my room has made me a better teacher and a better human being. He is also a super singer, he can match pitch and has a wonderful voice. I would even go so far to say he has become a good music note reader, a skill with which many students struggle. He will make a card for someone when they are sick or going through a rough time. Gabe is our caring counselor. When others are down or discouraged he offers a prayer. He is also a comedian. He’s our sunshine, he makes our days brighter. He loves to sing, dance, and change words to songs. He is the model human being and we all have a lot to learn from his kindness and good nature. He tells us and everyone he meets, “if you’re having a bad day, you come see me, and I’ll brighten it up!” He is an authentic, loving, endearing young man that blesses anyone he meets with his presence, grace, and shining light. He goes out of his way to give a positive light to every aspect of the day. He brings light and energy to every interaction. This young man is a miracle child who had many odds stacked up against him when he was born, but his perseverance and big heart has shined through.I know he will do something BIG in his life.

Gabe attended Piqua High School for half a day and the other half at UVCC for vocational training. He participated in the men’s choir and several plays and musicals.He graduated from Piqua and has been accepted into the Launch Program in Troy. Launch is a one year high school transition program for individuals with disabilities to provide training and education leading to community employment.