ACE award honors perseverence

Published 8:28 pm Thursday, April 24, 2014

William Gombar and Haylee Baggett were honored at the Exchange Club’s ACE award luncheon on Thursday.

William Gombar and Haylee Baggett were honored at the Exchange Club’s ACE award luncheon on Thursday.

William Gombar, a senior at Pike County High School, is the recipient of the Troy Exchange Club’s 2014 A.C.E. (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) award.
Gombar and Haylee Baggett, the Charles Henderson High School ACE nominee, were honored at the Wednesday meeting of the Troy Exchange Club.
As the 2014 A.C.E. award winner, Gombar received a $1,000 award from the Troy Exchange Club and both nominees received $200 awards.
Diane Aman, Club A.C.E. chairman, said the Ace award recognizes high school students who have overcome great physical, emotional or social obstacles and are now eligible for high school graduation.
“This special recognition serves as a powerful example to all students that hard work and perseverance really to pay off,” Aman said.
“Contrary to popular belief, the lives of all students aren’t easy. When obstacles come, the easy thing to do is drop out. Our two 2014 A.C.E. nominees did not choose the easy way. They chose to do whatever it took to overcome the obstacles that life set before them. And, I’m extremely pleased to be able to call both of them overcomers.”
Aman said both Baggett and Gombar are deserving students who, with great determination and perseverance, overcame all odds.
Gombar lost both of his parents before he was two years old. He was raised by his grandmother, Shirley McCann, who he said is his hero.
“My grandmother had guided me in the right direction and she taught me the things that are important in life,” he said. “Without her, I would not be standing here.”
Gombar is a member of the Alabama National Guard and will go to Oklahoma this summer to complete AIT. His future plans include the military and he would also like to own a restaurant.
Gombar expressed appreciation to the Troy Exchange Club for selecting him as the 2014 A.C.E. award recipient and for the monetary awards.
“This recognition gives me the drive to keep going,” he said. “It show that if you keep your eyes on the right things, then you can do great things.”
Gombar will now be eligible for Exchange Club’s district award. Aman wished him all the best as he moves on to the next award level.
Baggett also expressed appreciation to the Troy Exchange Club members for the recognition and for the monetary award.
Baggett has overcome a hearing loss that was first diagnosed at 12 months of age.
“Haylee has not let the hearing loss keep her from accomplishing her goals in life,” Aman said. “She describes herself as self-confident and outgoing and those are traits that helped her reach her goals.”
Baggett enjoys working with children and her career plan is to be a special education teacher.
Baggett recognized her grandparents, Jack and Diane Jordan, as the heroes in her life and expressed appreciation for he strong family support in her life.
“I’ve been with my grandparents since I was a baby and they have helped me all through my life,” she said.
Aman said both nominees have flourished academically and personally in spite of their adversity.
“Each had reason to become bitter, yet they chose to be better,” she said.
“We congratulate both of our nominees. They are truly overcomers.”

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