LOCAL NEWS

Dixie High graduate credits mascot duties for confidence, diploma

May 23, 2018, 5:49 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

ST. GEORGE, Utah – A new graduate from Dixie High School has credited his years as the school’s mascot for helping to build his confidence and earn his diploma.

The Alder family wasn’t sure the day would ever happen. However, there he was. Jonathan Alder walked across the stage as a Dixie High School graduate.

Jonathan Alder and the Dixie High School class of 2018 prepare to receive their diplomas.

“When he was born, we almost lost him,” said Betsy Alder, Jonathan’s mother. “So for us to see him graduating, it’s a miracle.”

It’s enough to make any parent emotional. Not because she doubted her son’s ability in the classroom, but because of everything else.

“He has gone through a lot,” said Betsy.

Jonathan Alder has Marfan’s Syndrome. It’s a disorder that affects his breathing and sleeping.

Jonathan Alder credits his years as the Dixie High School’s mascot for helping to build his confidence and earn his diploma.

He went through several surgeries in the first eight years of his life to try and help correct the issue. However, those surgeries affect his speech and how his jaw looks.

The surgeries also left several scars that are still noticeable on his face and neck.

Jonathan was embarrassed entering high school, and was shy around his classmates. That is, until he discovered Freddy the Flyer.

“It’s fun to me and it’s cool,” said Jonathan.

For three years, Jonathan starred as Freddy the Flyer, Dixie High School’s mascot.

(Courtesy of the Alder Family)

He performed at assemblies, football and basketball games, and anything else where the mascot was needed.

Being in the costume allowed Jonathan to become someone else.

It turns out he could get along with his classmates just fine, including athletes and cheerleaders – and that confidence stayed with him, even when he took the costume off.

“It was fun meeting new people,” said Jonathan.

Jonathan Alder has Marfan’s Syndrome, which meant several surgeries in the first eight years of his life to try and help correct the issue.

“He says hi to everybody. He knows everybody,” said his mother.

It seems like everybody knows him, too, and now he knows they love him just the way he is.

“We’re really excited to see this because we didn’t think it would happen,” said Betsy.

She was talking about graduation day, but she just as easily could have been talking about her son’s confidence.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Police are asking for help in locating the driver in a hit-and-run that sent a Sandy mother and her...

Shara Park

Sandy police seeking help in locating vehicle involved in a hit-and-run

Police are asking for help in locating the driver in a hit-and-run that sent a Sandy mother and her teenage daughter to the hospital.

4 minutes ago

Keith Sorenson opens a tool shed to display the tools of the trade. (Stuart Johnson, KSL News)...

Alex Cabrero

Taylorsville heritage center reclaims stolen historic anvils

A pair of historically-significant anvils were finally returned to Taylorsville after being stolen two years ago.

19 minutes ago

Herriman police are seeking the public's assistance in locating 76-year-old Joe Vakuata. (Herriman ...

Mark Jones

UPDATE: Herriman police find missing 76-year-old man safe

Herriman police are seeking the public's assistance in locating a missing 76-year-old man.

32 minutes ago

FILE - Taylor Swift performs during "The Eras Tour" in Nashville, Tenn., May 5, 2023.  (AP Photo, G...

Sam Herrera, KSLNewsRadio and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

Weber State University is offering a new course all about Taylor Swift, and students wasted no time signing up.

49 minutes ago

A massive house fire in Orem, Utah is under investigation for the cause of the fire, which firefigh...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Investigators seeking more DNA evidence in massive Orem house arson case

Orem police investigating the massive house fire have requested to go back into the house to collect DNA evidence.

2 hours ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Cary Schwanitz

Code Blue issued for Salt Lake County

The Code Blue alert, issued by the Salt Lake City Council, prompts emergency shelters to expand capacity by 35%.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Dixie High graduate credits mascot duties for confidence, diploma