In Case You Haven’t Heard…Lafayette student competing for national award

Published 6:38 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023

In Case You Haven’t Heard…

Lafayette student competing for National Exchange Club award

Case Kennedy of Oxford, a recent graduate of Lafayette School District, is in the running for a National Exchange Club scholarship and the renowned A.C.E. Award.

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Earlier this month Kennedy was named the Mississippi District Exchange Club winner of the A.C.E Award after receiving the local honor from the Exchange Club of Oxford.

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.

Kennedy is the son of Rocky and Leslie Kennedy of Oxford and plans to attend the University of Mississippi to study biology. He has hope of becoming an internal medicine physician.

Born at 29 weeks, Kennedy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has overcome many obstacles in his life in order to become independent, such as learning to dress himself, to walk and school management.

However, Kennedy told members of the Mississippi District at its convention in Cleveland on June 3 that his greatest accomplishment was earning his driving license. On Oct. 11, 2022, I obtained my license,” he wrote in his application essay. “I am most proud of this event because it shows me that as long as I persevere through the highs and lows, I can accomplish any obstacle.”

At the time of this birth, his parents were told their son would be mentally challenged and would never walk. When he turned 1, his doctors confirmed cerebral palsy and he began multiple therapies and injections to alleviate stiffness in his muscles with little effect.

Kennedy’s parents began researching doctors and treatments and finally discovered a doctor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital who would eventually perform a surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy. The procedure involved cutting nerves in the spine in hope the muscles could be retrained to work better.

I would say that Case’s positive attitude and outlook on life, determination and faith have been the reason he has overcome so much,” said Oxford Exchange member Kat King, who nominated Kennedy for the award. 

This is such an honor to have the district winner from our club. Case is a phenomenal young man and so deserving,” said Oxford Exchange President Denise Strub.

Kennedy’s application for the A.C.E Award will be considered among 25 other honorees from Exchange districts around the country. The recipient of the scholarship will be announced on July 14 at the National Exchange Club convention in Phoenix.

The first National A.C.E Award was presented in 2000 at the 82nd National Convention in Phoenix. The award recognizes those students who are often overlooked for their accomplishments. This special recognition serves as a powerful example to all students that hard work and perseverance really does pay.

Rocky Kennedy said his son is a “special dude” who has been amazing to watch grow up and to witness his successes.

He will listen to neither ‘quit’ nor ‘can’t,’” he said.