The efforts of a Valleyview Elementary School student who gave his all at a recent districtwide wrestling competition were rewarded at a monthly morning assembly program on Monday.
Third-grader Kieran Jennings, who has cerebral palsy, received the award for his March performance in the Sixth Ward Athletic Club Eddigate Colone Royal Rumble Wrestling Festival. It is named for the late Albert Colone, said his daughter Marie Shue. The event began more than five years ago, she said.
He was a club member, and a big supporter of wrestling.
"He always believed that whatever you're given, you do something with it," said Shue. Jennings is a shining example of that.
It didn't matter that he was handicapped, she said.
He got involved and did what everyone else did.
"He is an inspiration to everybody," she said.
As recognition of his achievement, he received an autographed copy of the autobiography of Kyle Maynard, titled "No Excuses." It is story of how he became a championship wrestler despite having a congenital disease.
In presenting the book Jared Shue, Colone's grandson, read a passage that said "from one wrestler to another, never give up."
"It means a lot to me. It's an inspiration," Jennings said, looking at photos that show how Maynard overcame his handicap.
Jennings split his matches at the Oneonta event. He hopes to stick with the sport, which he learned this year from Valleyview physical education instructor Van Jaffe.
From the start Jennings was determined to participate, Jaffe said. His student worked very hard with the help of his licensed teaching assistant, Marilyn Bailey. He was one of about 30 elementary students from the school and 130 from the district who were involved.