PLANO, Texas -- For a project at Plano Senior High School, teachers asked Brayden McNeely to share what shapes his personal philosophy. It comes from a moment he doesn't remember.
"I just titled it 'The Accident,'" he said, of his essay. His mother will never forget that night.
"We heard a big bang," said Jennifer McNeely. "I just walked out to a cloud of smoke and lights and everything."
Some longtime viewers may remember too. It was a summer Sunday night, July 17 of 2005, when a duo speeding in a stolen car slammed into the McNeeley’s Plano home. Brayden was five and the SUV stopped in what was his bedroom.
"I went to sleep, and it just felt like I was waking up the next morning, but everything was white," said Brayden. That's all he can remember from the crash.
Doctors at Children's Health treated his fractured skull and bruised lungs, but he was able to make it to kindergarten with the help of a neck brace. Twelve grades later, he knows the healing was two-fold.
"The incredible medical staff at Children’s may have saved my life, but it is our community that saved my family," said Brayden, reading from his essay written for class.
The love and support and food from neighbors helped the McNeely’s cope, and all of it created Brayden’s philosophy. Next week, he'll share his philosophy with his classmates. Brayden believes you never know what life will bring, so choose to spend your time with the people who choose you.
"Having a community and building a constructive and positive community is one of the best possible insurance policies," he said.
"I hope he gets an A!" said Jennifer.