I’d like you to meet this year’s recipient of the Accepting the Challenge of Excellence (ACE) Scholarship, Erin Allen.

I had the honor of speaking at the Columbia County Exchange Club Scholarship Breakfast on Thursday, and it was such a joy to meet Erin and participate in her receiving this award.

Erin was born with a muscular disorder, and despite the obstacles she has faced through her life and as a student has shown incredible drive, passion, and perseverance. She’s well-deserving of this scholarship and I couldn’t be happier to see her receive it.

After graduation Erin will be attending the University of Georgia and will continue to show everyone around her that the obstacles you face in life can always be overcome if you dream big and never lose heart. Erin is such an inspiration to me, and I can’t wait to see her story continue to unfold!

The Accepting the Challenge of Excellence program recognizes high school students who have made a dramatic change in their attitude and performance during their high school years. These changes have enabled the students to overcome adversities and prepare for graduation.

This is a positive program with two key objectives. First, it helps encourage students to overcome their hardships and get back on track toward a high school diploma. Second, 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 do pay.