A group of fifth-graders decided to take action and help out a classmate with special needs.

The five boys —Jack Pemble, Tyler Jones, Gus Gartzke, Jake Burgess, and Landon Kopischke—had enough after consistently seeing their classmate James Willmert being bullied due to him having special needs.

“They were like, using him and taking advantage of him,” Jake said, “because he’s easier to pick on, and it’s just not right,” he added.

The five boys banded together to help protect James by inviting him to their lunch table and including him in their games at recess.

lunch table

James' mom has already seen a huge change in her son

“He used to not want to go out for recess or anything, it would be like a struggle,” Willmert's mom, said.

“And now he can barely eat his lunch to get outside to play with those guys,” she added.


As they became closer with James, they found a common interest in their love for sports.

That's when they asked James if he had any sports games.

"We're like, 'Do you have any sports games?'" explains Jake. "And he was like, 'No, I don't have any video game systems.'"

The when Jake came up with the idea for the group to pool their own money together (with a little help from their parents) to buy James a Playstation 3.


The boys weren't seeking attention or expected to be awarded anything when they took James under their wing. However, the school district did award the boys with a well deserved Spirit of Youth Award.

"All these guys are the best friends anybody could ask for," James said with a huge grin on his face.

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Photo credit: YouTube