MANTI – The annual Manti High Templar Pride basketball game always promises a good time and great spirit, but this year it meant much more after one of the players, Kade Shaw, passed away Nov. 23, the night before the big event.
BethAnne Chidester, a special education teacher at Manti High School, puts this special evening together every year with the help of the student body officers and several of the Templar staff members. This year’s game marked the 8th anniversary of the event.
Chidester said many of the student body say it’s their favorite event of the year. It’s a time where her students get to be in the spotlight and shine. They can play in the basketball game; they can cheer with the cheerleaders, or they can dance at halftime with the drill team.
“The students at MHS are the best around,” she said. “They are so supportive of my students. Everyone is so great to help out with this annual event.”
The seniors from the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams play in the game with students with special needs, helping them shoot or dribble if needed. Most of all, they are there to encourage the students.
The pep band plays just like they would at a regular game. For Chidester’s students who choose to cheer or dance, they have representatives from cheer and from the drill team teach them the choreography the week before the game.
“Last week when I found out that our sweet senior student Kade had passed away, I knew we needed to dedicate our Templar Pride basketball game, which was going to be held the very next day, in his honor,” she said.
Kade had a way of bringing out the very best in people. His smile and laugh always made everyone feel lifted.
Kade was the son of Nick and Katie Shaw of Manti. His obituary stated that he left this world the same way he came – too fast and too soon. Complications at birth caused him to have cerebral palsy. Although his physical body may not have been perfect, everything else about Kade was.
His mom said that his love for others was unconditional, Christ-like, and pure.
At the beginning of the game, a tribute was read by Chidester.
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming to our annual Templar Pride basketball game today. It’s a great tradition where the student body gets to celebrate some very special students at Manti High. Today we dedicate this game to our senior Kade Shaw, who passed away yesterday. Kade’s ability to lift others with his contagious smile will always be remembered. In remembrance of Kade, I’d encourage everyone who can hear my voice to give away eight genuine smiles each day for the rest of the week, not worrying if you’ll get a smile back. Let’s all try to give happiness freely like Kade always did.”
Kade’s family was invited to come to the game, but she understood if they couldn’t since it was so soon after Kade’s passing. Nick and Katie and his sister Jayda did come, and they sat next to their son’s jersey, which was placed on a chair in the bleachers. They cheered on the students and at the end of the game, they joined in on the picture with the student body.
On a Facebook post by Manti Cheer Coach Trisha Hyde, she said that there wasn’t a dry eye in the gym. She noted that this is her favorite game of the entire year.
Former Templar basketball player, Conner Christiansen, told the Messenger that the Templar Pride game was the most fun game because the atmosphere is just like a game but better and so much fun and the student section is “awesome.”
Christiansen got the opportunity to be Kade’s partner in the game a few years ago.
“Playing with Kade in the Templar Pride game was the best,” he said. “To see him get as excited as he did with people cheering him on as we were moving up and down the court was pure joy.”
Chidester said that the community, high school, and her life are better because of Kade’s loving example and his amazing family.
“I am very grateful to be a part of such a wonderfully supportive administration, faculty and student body who know the true definition of support and inclusion,” she said.
Many may have seen Kade’s life as filled with restrictions, but he lived life to the fullest. According to his obituary, he always had an enthusiasm for adventure and a need for speed. If it had a motor, he wanted to hear it, touch it or go for a ride. He loved demolition derbies, monster trucks, and especially UTVs and ATVs.
His favorite thing to do was go rock crawling and trail riding in his RZR.
Nick said that he lost his best friend and riding partner. Together they conquered many obstacles and each one brought them closer together.
Kade’s final ride from the Red Brick Church in Manti to the cemetery was made extra special just for him. His casket rode on the back of his RZR and was followed by several recreational vehicles and derby cars driven by family and friends.