• 61°

Emily an example of valor

May marks a time of year full of endings and new beginnings for high school seniors.

Once they walk across the stage of their school and turn their mortarboard tassels, high school has ended. They move on from many of the people they have known since before they could read or write.

Some of those seniors will go on to a university or technical school. Some will go straight into the workforce. Their adult lives will begin.

Many of us can remember the feeling of graduating high school, the sense of accomplishment, all the years of hard work. It’s hard enough to juggle schoolwork, extracurricular activities and possibility part-time work without having to deal with many of the things life can throw at you.

No one knows this harsh fact more than Emily Wilcox.

The Dawson-Bryant senior will graduate next Sunday despite the seemingly insurmountable odds against her. When the girl’s father attacked her mother, poured gasoline on her and ignited it, Emily was just 11 years old.

The young girl had to endure the death of her mother and trial of her father at such a young age, folks would probably understand if she didn’t quite become an academic shining star.

But that’s exactly what she became. Recently, she was honored with the 2016 Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio Beat the Odds Award, an award given to high school seniors who have overcome adversity, excelled academically and given back to their communities.

She is also graduating with a 3.8 GPA earning her honors with distinction status.

Emily recently spoke to The Tribune about her honor and how she came through her personal tragedy.

“It’s made me more mature and has definitely given me a different outlook on life,” she said. “It’s reminded me just to stay positive, because that’s the only thing you can do.”

Emily is another prime example of how young people can overcome difficult odds and make an impact on their communities.

Her positive attitude is truly something we should all try to achieve.