March Student of the Month: Carter Spore

Published: Mar. 26, 2018 at 8:21 AM CDT
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Faith is at the foundation of Carter Spore's life. The 17-year-old fills his day with practices, volunteer work, and school, but never forgets the importance of family or a friend who’s in need.

The junior at Union High School is a standout in most activities he tries, including choir, band and musical theatre. "You'll get this kind of stuff in a small town, where you can be in choir, band and football and all the teachers, directors and coaches just work together really well,” says Spore.

Spore is a lineman for the Union Knights and a member of the high school's track and robotics teams. He also serves on the football team’s Unity Council. But at the heart of this busy teenager, is a strong faith that started at home. In 2008, Spore says his parents felt the call from God to adopt, expanding their family of six to seven. They adopted Cooper from Rwanda. "A couple of years later, they felt the call again and adopted Caleb and Hannah and they were siblings from Uganda,” he says. "While they were there, they met Sam. And Sam has Spina Bifida, so he is paralyzed from the waist down."

The Spore family knew they could offer Sam more opportunities in Iowa, so they adopted him too, building a family of 10. "I just can't imagine life without any of those guys,” says Spore, who took a lead role in Sam’s daily care.

Last fall, UI athletics honored Sam as a Hawkeye Kid Captain, noting the family's incredible story. "[Seeing] him on the field, just waving and he was just - smile so big and oh my goodness.”

"He just cares so much about other kids and other people,” says Spore’s physical education teacher, Erin Wittenburg. “It comes from his heart, it comes from his home and it trickles over into school."

Spore’s teachers have noticed his compassion for others, and for one student in particular, Tyler, who he met in band. “He was kind of quite the character at the beginning,” says Spore.

Tyler struggled with the structure of school and what Spore calls a quick temper and lack of understanding. "Carter just reached out to him and took him under his wing - introduced him to robotics and extracurricular activities and helps him in class,” says Wittenburg.

Spore is humble about his character and accomplishments, saying God's love is what makes him who he is. "And that love just flows over to other people in respect and encouragement."

Spore has one more year at Union High School but says he plans to attend Iowa State University and possibly major in engineering.