We are the parents of Brigham Larkin, a senior at Layton High School with Down syndrome. Missed by many in the community is the fact that last week the student body of Layton High honored our handicapped son as the 2007 Layton High homecoming king. The purpose of this open letter is to express our thanks and admiration to the students of Layton High for the kindness and charity we saw on display.

With all the activities involving homecoming royalty, we had increased opportunity to interact with the students and faculty at Layton High. In every interaction, we were met with respect, enthusiasm, assistance and support. As we walked the halls and fields of the school or the aisles of local stores, we were touched by the consistent show of friendly support from Brig's peers — friends and strangers alike. Literally all week, no matter where we were, Brig was met with comments of support and affection. Thanks to these outstanding students for a measure of civility in an increasingly uncivilized world.

We recognize there are other students, perhaps, more deserving of being elected to the homecoming royalty, and there are still many more for whom such an honor would have been a dream come true. Regardless, from every group within the school community, our son was met with nothing but love and support. It has been said that the measure of a community is how they treat the least among them. The individual and collective behavior of these young people says so much about them and about the future of our community!

We hope these students have experienced joy in their small acts of service and that this experience will be as memorable for them as it has been for us.

As far as handicaps go, Down syndrome is obvious and relatively easy to be around. There are many others who have far more serious challenges. May we encourage these Layton High students and all members of our community to continue to find ways to strengthen those around us, even (and especially) those whose challenges may be less obvious or harder to be around.

Jay Larkin writes on behalf of Monique Larkin and Dan and Carole Garber.