Thompson student surprised with tickets to NASCAR’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

Josh Carden, an 11th-grade special-needs student at Thompson High School, will get the opportunity to witness one of his favorite things in person this weekend thanks to the generosity of two local elected officials and a special teacher. Carden, who is a huge NASCAR fan, was surprised with tickets to the Aaron’s 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway at school when he arrived to school Monday, April 19.

The tickets were provided by State Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, and Alabaster City Council member Jim McClain.

Donations have also been secured to help purchase race memorabilia and meals for Carden while he attends the race.

Tickets were also provided for his special education teacher, Pat Hamrick, who will accompany him to the event and helped arrange the special surprise for Carden.

Assistant Principal Keri Johnson said Carden is special to the students and staff at Thompson High.

Carden underwent surgery this year to correct a problem with his spine.

Despite a painful recovery, he maintained a positive attitude and serves as an inspiration to others around him.

“Even through all of his pain and struggles, he always has a smile for us at school,” Johnson said. “He loves NASCAR and has never been able to attend a race, so this day will be so much fun for him.”