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You’ve Got to Play the Cards You’re Dealt

Photo by: Mark Gutierrez

I was at my weekly Friday Exchange Club meeting last Friday (April 20th). It was a meeting where the annual Bud Willer/A.C.E. award was presented to an outstanding student who has overcome a disability to succeed. The Exchange Club annually presents a $1000 scholarship to the recipient of the award. The late Bud Willer was a star athlete in high school and college in the 1940’s and later worked with the disabled. This year’s winner was Clayton Roll, a Senior at Quincy Senior High School. Clayton is by no means disabled, but he does suffer from Cystic Fibrosis which is a chronic lung disease. What makes him so remarkable is that even with suffering from CF, this young man convinced his mother and father, Lynette and David Roll,as well as his track coach that he could run for the track team. That’s right run for the Q.H.S. Track Team. It is something he does quite well even with his lung problems. As a matter of fact he has run a mile in less than 5 minutes. Despite his ailment, Clayton kept his situation from almost everyone at Q.H.S. except a few close friends. He was nominated by Q.H.S. Counselor Mike Llewellyn who had to be informed of Clayton’s situation when it was suggested he be a candidate for the award. In receiving the award, Clayton now will advance to the Exchange Club’s Lincolnland District competition in Springfield, Illinois. If he is chosen at the District competition, he would go onto the Exchange Club’s National competition and could possibly be awarded a 10-thousand dollar scholarship. He is planning on continuing his education and running track for Webster University. His story was remarkable and his sincerity in accepting the honor was genuine. At one point he spoke of his parents support for him and their concern for his health. I kid you not when I say, not a dry eye was seen in the house. We are all dealt cards in our lives. It’s what you do with them that makes the difference. Clayton is well on the way to having 4 aces.

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