Thanks to these partners for their continued involvement in our community and education.
Illness made homework pile upBy Brad Newman
A vicious illness often kept Grayson Carnes from attending his high school classes for three years.
But Carnes' dedication to schoolwork despite his ailments will be rewarded as the 18-year-old graduates from Randall High School on May 29.
Carnes first noticed persistent sickness in middle school.
"It went from headaches and sore throats to flu symptoms," he said. "And as soon as I'd get over it, it seems I'd catch something else."
The illness, which couldn't be diagnosed, continued into his freshman year. Frequent doctor visits were followed by lengthy bouts at home recovering.
Meanwhile, his schoolwork mounted.
"It was very stressful and frustrating," Carnes said. "When I'd pick up my homework, I'd have pages and pages and pages to do, and sometimes I'd have no idea how to do it."
Carnes estimated he missed about 25 percent of classes from ninth to 11th grade.
"Grayson's absenteeism was outrageous, yet he would always get his work done," said Jill Brown, Carnes' counselor at Randall High School.
"And not only would he complete the assignments, but he was an outstanding student who always challenged himself academically."
Teachers worked with Carnes to make up assignments, and his family was a constant encouragement, he said.
"People always said it would pay off in the long run if I didn't give up," Carnes said. "They pushed me to keep working."
Carnes' sickness was diagnosed near the end of his junior year as a severe case of the Epstein-Barr virus.
"My treatments began working and this year, I've been much better," he said.
The senior plans to study aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Carnes said the experience will give him confidence for all his life endeavors.
"Getting through this, I know now I can overcome any other obstacle, no matter how daunting," he said. "My diploma will prove that I'm able to do whatever I set my mind to do."
Editor's note: Beating the Odds is a series published in the Amarillo Globe-News from May 10-24 that tells the stories of all kinds of students who are graduating despite challenges they've faced. It is part of Celebrate Education, a program designed to bring awareness to the need of educational attainment in the Texas Panhandle.
Copyright 2008 Amarillo Globe-News :: Amarillo.com