Maggie Tressler knows how to light up a room with her bubbly personality and a smile that rarely leaves her face. An 18-year-old with Down Syndrome from Woodstock High School, Tressler was ecstatic when she found out her dream to meet the Atlanta Braves was coming true.
Tressler, the 2018 Special Olympian of the Year in Cherokee County, is a die hard baseball fan. Her favorite pastimes include cheerleading, bowling and watching the Atlanta Braves with her family while cheering on her favorite player, Freddie Freeman. She says the way he is “always smiling and having fun” makes him the best baseball player. Her dream was to go to a Braves game, meet the players and give the Braves mascot, Blooper, a high five.
Dream on 3, a sports nonprofit organization with a mission to make dreams come true for children with chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities or life-altering conditions by creating experiences of joy and magic through the world of sports, stepped in to make her dream possible.
With the help of Dream on 3, a group of 16 Woodstock High students came together to create Tressler’s “Jr. Dream Team.'' The team worked to rally the school around Tressler and her dream through raising money, planning her epic send-off pep rally and selling T-shirts for the “pink out” theme of her send-off.
The hardworking students that made the event possible were Kayla Mann, Ryan Comeau, Christopher Carroll, Ashlyn Welch, Ashley Casey, Brendan Foo, Grace Barham, Anna Bailey, Campbell Price, Grayson Gorman, Josiah Siegel, Drew Sheehan, Mondyne Ariste, Maricia Winzer, Forouton Gorgi and Faith Sandell.
“This has been a crazy experience and has brought so much joy to everyone involved. Getting the whole school to rally around her, getting everyone involved and just to see that everyone cares has been so awesome," said Mann, a senior at the school.
The send-off pep rally kicked off the Wednesday morning school day with a bang. The band played and the cheerleaders pumped up the packed gymnasium before Principal Mark Smith turned over the event to the Jr. Dream Team.
After the dream team introduced themselves, the school's baseball team came out and set up the bases for Tressler to run. After she hit the ball and zoomed around the bases, she arrived at home plate to find her boyfriend and dream kid himself, Anderson Sisk, dressed as the catcher, waiting for her with flowers and arms wide open.
Woodstock High School Dream on 3 sponsors presented a check for $3,572 to the organization from the fundraising efforts of the dream team and the students at the school.
Tressler, her Jr. Dream Team and her family were then taken outside to see the stretch Hummer limo that was waiting to transport them to SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. Upon their arrival, Tressler went straight into the dream experience. She met Blooper and was given a VIP tour of the stadium before she crashed batting practice to meet some of the coaches and players. She got a signed bat and ball from infielder Charlie Culberson and had her own batting practice with Blooper.
With her whole Jr. Dream Team supporting her from the stands, Tressler made the official “play ball” call from the announcer’s booth and gave the team the luck they needed to win the game.
“This means a lot to our community and we are so excited for Maggie,” assistant principal and Dream on 3 sponsor Nancy Henson said. “ This brings a lot of awareness to our special needs population. We want every kid to experience everything they can and I think this experience is giving Maggie even more confidence to pursue her dreams.”
For more information on Dream on 3, visit www.dreamon3.org.