2019 A.C.E. AWARD WINNER
ST. VINCENTS ACADEMY
Lauren’s remarkable life has been a journey battling cancer but never giving up. She was only two when sh
e was diagnosed with a stage three blastoma in her abdomen and after chemo; she was declared cancer free at age five. All was well until age fifteen when the cancer reappeared. She is currently undergoing su
rgery and treatments at Emory in Atlanta. “Lauren’s sprit has remained positive in general,” says Jody Ri
ddle, Guidance Counselor at St. Vincent’s. “Even though she has undergone all the treatment, and physical and psychological trauma, she remains positive and by her actions, hopeful,” Mrs. Riddle continues.
Lauren has created You Tube videos that chronicle her journey. They are “My Cancer Story” by Lauren Stephens in several parts.
A.C.E. AWARD WINNER FOR 2017
Caleb, a senior at Groves High School, was beginning his senior year last fall in good shape. He was ranked 8th in his class, was selected to be the Drum Major for the marching band and had recently started a job to add to his resume and provide spending money. Then, after his first week as a senior, tragedy struck when he was hit by a car while walking home from work. He teetered on the border of death for several weeks, being kept on life support and in a medically induced coma. After 5 weeks, he was allowed to regain consciousness but his injuries were so severe that he was admitted into the Sheppard Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta. It was there that Caleb underwent other surgeries and began the fight to regain speech, cognitive skills and use of his arms and legs. He progressed to the point that he regained the ability to walk, talk, feed himself and perform academic tasks and was finally released to physical therapy at home in Savannah. He continues to receive therapy weekly and was able to reenroll at Groves in January in order to complete his graduation requirements. He is currently successful in Honors Physics, Honors Economics and band. He is currently on track to graduate in the top 10 in his class and plans, after graduation, to study music at Savannah State and later to attend law school. Caleb’s mother Synthia and his grandparents Lulu and Willie Roberson were there to support him along with his School Counselor, William Brown.
A.C.E. AWARD WINNER FOR 2016
Tim Beers, Chairman of the A.C.E. Awards Committee, presented Dominique Sharpe, this year’s 2016 Award winner. Dominique’s early life was one of physical and emotional abuse at home and bullying at school. When she entered the seventh grade, her mother married and the abuse increased from a stepfather who blatantly favored his biological children. Frustrations in the marriage cause an escalation in the abuse by her mother that eventually sent Dominique to the hospital with injuries. When she was released from the hospital, her mother told her she could not come back home. Fortunately, the hospital contacted her biological father who brought her to Savannah to live with him and his wife. Then, getting the help she needed to combat her thoughts of suicide and low self-esteem led her back to her love of learning and helped her to regain her will to live. Today she has bounced back. “That second grader who loved to learn and was intrinsically motivated to succeed has returned with a vengeance,” Polite writes. Currently she takes high school honors classes, as well as college classes and recently made an SAT score of 1760 and an ACT score of 27. She has been accepted to several colleges and has aspirations of a double major in Finance and Business Management. Ultimately she plans to start her own non-profit to benefit abused and/or neglected children. Her desire is to be the trusting, caring advocate for other abused children that she did not have.