Autumn Michels has been blind since she was four because of a tumor on her optic nerve, but her dream of playing clarinet in her high school marching band is coming true thanks to a classmate, senior Rachael Steffens. She gave up her spot marching with the band to guide Michels on the field during marching events.
The freshman at Laingsburg High School in Michigan met Steffens at summer band camp and the two became close friends while she helped her learn her way around. Michels uses a cane to find her way to classes, but marching on a football field in formation is a bit of a challenge. So instead of playing cymbals during her senior year, Steffens is a step behind Michels on the field, gripping her shoulders so she knows where to turn.
“I’m having an amazing experience with the band, thanks to Rachael,” Michels says. “She’s the best friend anyone could have and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank her enough for what she’s doing.”