OVERCOMERS: Students awarded for overcoming obstacles

Published 3:00 am Friday, May 10, 2019

The two nominees for the A.C.E. Award presented by the Troy Exchange Club Thursday both overcame obstacles to remain successful in and out of the classroom.

Nominee Corey Porter beat cancer not once, but twice, including a bone marrow transplant, and winner Drake Adams overcame an early childhood head injury that has caused medical issues throughout his school days.

“They are each a living example of perseverance,” said Diane Aman, who presented the awards Thursday at the American Legion Post 70 building downtown. “Both have flourished academically and personally. Both had reasons to be bitter, but both chose instead to be better.”

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The A.C.E. (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) awards are given out each year by the Troy Exchange Club to graduating seniors in the local school systems that have overcome “physical, emotional or social” obstacles to excel both inside and outside of the classroom. All nominees must be recommended by staff within the student’s school. Both nominees were awarded $100 checks for their nominations and Adams also received a $1,000 check as the winner of the award. He will represent Troy at the district version of the award as well.

Aman said the Exchange Club needed two awards this year because both nominees were so deserving.

“I really mean that,” Aman said. “Unfortunately we had to pick one, but both of these nominees are really remarkable.”

It is important to recognize the students in local school systems that are fighting through adversity that is sometimes overlooked.

“From the outside looking in, it looks like students have it easy and that school is all fun and games, but that is not really the case,” Aman said. “The easy thing is to drop out, especially when they face hardship difficulties. They didn’t drop out, even though it would have been so easy for them to do so; they chose to be overcomers and they truly are overcomers. With great determination and perseverance, they overcame all odds.”

In his A.C.E. award application, Adams describes his senior year as “one of the hardest” years of his life, but credits his family and teachers as his greatest supporters in helping him through. Adams plans to attend Troy University and pay back the favor by becoming a high school teacher himself.

“Going through this taught me the value of teachers supporting kids,” Adams said. “I want to be the kind of teacher that will take time to help them.”