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Preschoolers cheer on their teacher and Special Olympic champ

DEER PARK, Ill. – A local teacher got a hero’s welcome this afternoon at a preschool in the suburbs.

Garrett Anderson has been teaching and inspiring kids at Bright Horizons in Deer Park for years.

Garrett is a sign language teacher by day and strong man by night as he puts in trained in heavy lifting and prepared for the Special Olympics.

Today, the school welcomed him home with cheers, signs and pride.

“These kids were so proud of me,” he says. “This daycare is like a family to me."

"He tends to really bond with the kids that might have some difficulty in the class because he knows what it feels like to have difficulty in the classroom,” says the school’s Sharon Anderson. “He can talk them through some things.”

At today’s welcome home rally, Garret showed off his bling and pictures from last week's Special Olympics. And he peppered in a message that he hopes will resonate long after the signs come down.

“This is my passion,” he said. “I want them to feel that they can and they will do it…. They inspired me and I will keep loving them because they are so special to me in my heart."

He hopes he is able to put a different face on disabilities and show these young kids that there isn't anything they can't overcome.