Calera High School star athlete Ronnie Clark has attended many pep rallies at his school prior to a big Friday night football game. But he admits he had never attented a pep rally held soley in his honor, until February 18. As the band played and the cheerleaders danced and led cheers from the stage, Clark sat humbly in the front row anticipating what was coming next – the announcement that he had been selected as the recepient of the Inspiration Award from the National Guard and USA Today High School Sports.
Clark, who has recently received a lot of attention as a top ranked football recruit and signee of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team, wasn’t just honored because of his accomplishments on the football field. This award was given because of the strength of Clark’s character and how he has been a role model for his fellow students and athletes.
Clark was just 14 when his mother was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and soon needed assistance with walking and compeleting routine tasks. His 82-year-old grandmother was also diagnosed with a brain tumor and moved in with Clark’s family. Meanwhile, his father was frequently out of town working as a train conductor with BNSF Railway.
That left a young Clark with the responsibility of being the primary caregiver for both his mother and his grandmother. It was a role that he did willingly and without complaint. It was a role that Clark said help him mature and become a focused student and a well respected athlete by his coaches and peers.
“I want to thank God because without him I would not be here today,” Clark said as he accepted the Inspiration Award. “I also want to thank my parents, my coaches, and my teammates. I am really speechless right now about this award. I just just very grateful to be recognized.”
Clark’s inspiring story is featured in an article on the USA Today High School Sports website, usatodayhhs.com – http://www.usatodayhss.com/inspiration/article/mature-beyond-his-years-alabama-signee-ronnie-clark-prepares-for-next-step.