The A.C.E. (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award recognizes high school students who have had to overcome great physical, emotional, or social obstacles and are now eligible for high school graduation. This program encourages students who have overcome almost unbelievable hardships to graduate from high school and to recognize them as they are all too often overlooked for their accomplishments. This recognition serves as a powerful example to all students that hard work and perseverance really do matter.
Two of our past winners have won the national A.C.E. Award and received a $10,000 scholarship.
The 2012 ACE award winner was DeVante Johnson from Chaminade Julienne High School.
This is the second winner (the first being Cherise McBeath – 2002) from that school, indicating the awareness and support that C.J. provides it’s students. DeVante was born prematurely and had to have immediate heart surgery. He had problems with reading, writing and spelling. Although he had many tutors, he credits his grandmother who was a genuine task master. In spite of growing up in an impoverished neighborhood, rampant with violence and pressure to participate in drug dealing (his cousin was a drug dealer who was shot 6 times in a robbery), he proved to succeed scholastically and has given back to his community as a tutor and volunteer.
He has been on the National Youth Leadership Council, served as a Peace Ambassador and served in the Wesley Community Center. He has enrolled at Miami University and plans to get a degree in engineering and a minor in Business. DeVante also won the Ohio West-Virginia award where he was surrounded by family, including aunts from a distance, to celebrate his accomplishments.
In addition, the Exchange Club of Dayton provided the speaker for the district luncheon, Ms. Sarah Brown, previous 2003 Dayton, District, and National award winner. Ms. Brown is currently a classroom aid in Dayton Public Schools and is near completion of her degree in special education. This was the second time a previous Dayton and subsequent National Exchange Club winner was selected to address the Youth Awards Banquet. In 2011, Ms. Jackie (Wax) Adcock, the 2001 national winner spoke about her continued progress. She spoke of fond memories shared with club members at Convention and how much she valued our support. She said that she was currently working on her aviation technology degree at Sinclair College.