Lee's Summit R-7 School District
Max, a Great Beginnings student, in his famous Culver's Halloween costume

LSR7’s pre-K student’s Halloween costume inspires love, joy, acceptance, and a special surprise for the students at Great Beginnings

This is the story of a boy, his love for his favorite restaurant, and the people who love him back.

On special occasions, you can find the Begnaud family at the Lee’s Summit Culver’s. Max, an LSR7 pre-K student at Great Beginnings Early Education Center, has been a star customer since he asked to have his 4th birthday last August in the restaurant. When the Begnauds visit, they get a warm welcome as Max works to order his usual: fish, potatoes and beans – and sometimes vanilla custard. Max’s favorite is so famous that the staff gave him a giant cheese curd stuffed animal. 

Max accepts his stuffed cheese curd gift from Culver's employees

Max’s favorite dinner spot inspired the perfect costume for the annual Halloween parade at Great Beginnings.

“We were at his fall conference and I was telling his teacher I wasn’t sure what to dress him in for Halloween,” said Emily Begnaud, Max’s mom. “He has some sensory issues and I wasn’t sure what he would wear and keep on. His teacher actually suggested he be a Culver’s worker since he loves going there so much. It seemed like a great idea and I knew he would love wearing that outfit.”

After some teamwork from Mrs. Begnaud, a family friend, and the Lee’s Summit Culver’s team, Max had a true Culver’s uniform, down to the right equipment for his tray. Max’s costume was a hit, and a photo of Max in uniform made waves not only at Great Beginnings, but on LSR7 social media channels and even at Culver’s corporate.

“Max loved wearing his outfit on Halloween and walked his tray around the whole school,” Mrs. Begnaud said. “Little did we know Culver’s corporate would discover the picture and like it almost as much as we do.”

The Begnauds and local Culver's employees wait to surprise Max

On Tuesday, February 11, Max – along with his Great Beginnings classmates – got a special surprise. Culver’s Corporate donated a fully decked out play kitchen to the Great Beginnings Early Education Center. The kitchen was handmade by 2MamaBees, custom toy makers based in Florida, and came with spatulas, aprons and other kitchen toys for all of Max and his classmates. Max’s parents and siblings were invited to watch the joy on his and his friends’ faces as the kitchen was revealed, along with favorite staff members for the local Culver’s and a letter from Culver’s CEO Joe Koss.

“That was quite a costume!” Mr. Koss wrote to Max. “I was so impressed by your serving skills and hospitality that I thought you and your classmates might enjoy your very own Culver’s kitchen.”

We’re grateful to the Begnauds, Culver’s, our Great Beginnings team and our community for supporting all of our students, including our youngest learners like Max.

“We are just excited to see others benefit from this great gift that we know Max will enjoy too,” Mrs. Begnaud said. “This is your hope when you have a child with special needs, or really any child. That the people around them would embrace who they are, love them, share in their joy, and help accommodate their differences.”

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