Ronnie FinchBerry High SchoolFayette CountyRonnie’s experiences in sports and with death and disabilities have led him to his calling in life. Ronnie lost his mother when he was young and his father is disabled. An avid sportsman, Ronnie received athletic honors five years in a row as well as perfect attendance every year of high school. Ronnie maintains a strong GPA while volunteering with Berry Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. He also maintains the local church grounds and served his community by cleaning roads and yards with the Tornado Relief Program. Ronnie has over 475 volunteer hours and works during the summer to help support his family. He follows the example of his disabled father who made so many sacrifices for Ronnie and his sisters so they could have food on the table. Ronnie writes that his most important goal in life is to persevere. He wants “to overcome and not be a number in the statistics that the world has made me”. “I want to be an example to other children and show them it is about how you play the cards you are handed, not the hand you are dealt.”Ronnie credits his work ethic for pushing him to return to the sport he was told he could never play again after a season ending injury in 2012. Ronnie recovered and made All State, maintained his grades and earned this scholarship to help him attend college.Ronnie has earned the Smith Scholar Book Award and will receive tuition assistance as he continues his studies to increase his ACT and college preparedness through attendance at a junior college with an opportunity to receive a full Smith Scholarship next year.