Ten years after his passing, a local student’s legacy lives on in classrooms

The Kid Scoop page, a weekly feature of the Sweetwater Reporter, is a child-friendly tool that teaches kids about English, science, history and other subjects. The page is used as part of the NIE program (Newspapers in Education), which allows students to have access to the local newspaper in the classroom.NIE is provided to local students through the sponsorship of several local businesses. But the top of the Kid Scoop page lists its sponsor — the family of Chad Lindsey. Chad was born on June 21, 1985. When he was in third grade — a student of Mrs. Massey's class in East Ridge, he had a kidney transplant.As a child, Chad suffered from several health-related issues. He was able to overcome a rare hand-eye coordination problem, but his hearing impairment worsened due to medication he had to take.Other health concerns arose as Chad got older, especially the need for another kidney transplant and problems with his liver. But his mother Ann recalled how Chad overcame such obstacles, as he was part of the sixth grade music group Show Kids and was a good student.While a freshman at Sweetwater High School, Chad was part of the homebound class taught by Paula Ordway. And what began as a class project for English soon flourished into something more that would extend beyond the classroom.Chad read an article in the local newspaper about the inception of the NIE program, in which his mother recollected that her son thought it was a good idea — especially one that would help kids learn to read. The family contacted JoAnn Henson, the circulation manager of the Sweetwater Reporter at that time, which led to Chad sponsoring Mrs. Massey's class in the program.Thus, Chad became the first individual to be a sponsor for NIE. And in order to boost class sponsorships beyond local businesses, Henson contacted the Lindsey family about taking part in an article that informed readers about individual class sponsors.Ann had introduced her two children, Chad and her daughter Arianne, to the newspaper business at a young age. The lesson was two-fold, as she sent her children with the correct amount of money to purchase the daily paper. As they got older, Ann said, she would give them more money so that they could learn to count change. And once the paper was in their hands, she would have her kids browse the paper. She would have them check out the comics — a favorite of most children, which would lead to them looking at photos and sales ads to work on their reading. As they got older, Ann would introduce them to and have them read news articles.But later on in his high school career, Chad's health issues would worsen. He was taking medication for his kidneys to prevent rejection, and in April 2003 he fell ill.He would celebrate his birthday in June of that year, but on Sept. 10, 2003, Chad passed away. This year marked the tenth anniversary of his passing.After his passing, the Lindsey family was contacted by the Reporter's circulation manager at the time, Courtney Collins, to see if the family would be willing to sponsor the entire page. In their third year of sponsorship, Ann said that the initial decision to sponsor the page not only keeps Chad's memory alive, but continues his strong desire to help others, teaching children a basic but most important quality — the foundational tool of reading that will impact them for the rest of their lives.