Student receives recognition after overcoming challengesPublished 11:00pm Thursday, April 25, 2013
Eric Johnson Hammond was named the recipient of the Troy Exchange Club’s A.C.E. (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award at the club’s Thursday meeting.
Hammond, a senior at Pike County High School, and Jarad Maddox, a Goshen High School senior, were the nominees for this year’s award.
Diane Aman, chair of the A.C.E. Awards committee, said the A.C.E. award recognizes high school students who have had to overcome great physical, emotional or social obstacles and are eligible for high school graduation.
“This is positive program that helps encourage students to overcome their hardships and get back on track toward a high school diploma,” Aman said.
“The award also recognizes those students who are often overlooked for their accomplishments. This special recognition serves as a powerful example to all students that hard work and perseverance really do pay.”
Hammond said he was honored to be the Troy Exchange Club’s 2013 A.C.E. Award recipient.
“I didn’t expect this but I really appreciate it,” he said. “I hope I can tell my story to others and that will help them overcome hardships in their lives.”
Two years ago, Hammond was diagnosed with epilepsy and his life changed dramatically.
“When you have seizures, you start to look at life in a different way,” Hammond said. “I started to lose my self-confidence and my self-esteem. But I knew that I couldn’t let epilepsy stop me from doing the things I wanted to do and being what I wanted to be.”
Hammond said he realized that he couldn’t let epilepsy keep him from living life.
“I started taking it day by day and I got back my confidence in myself.”
The PCHS senior has reached a level of maturity that he might not have reached at age 18 without having such adversity in his life.
“I want to tell my story and hope it will help others,” he said.
Hammond is planning a career in the business world and is looking forward to taking that first step into a new chapter in his life.
Hammond will represent the Troy Exchange Club in the district A.C.E. Awards program in June.
A.C.E. nominee Maddox’s future plans are to “live his dream” of playing college baseball and to pursue a career in bio-medical engineering.