Paul Hyde, firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished 10:00 a.m. ET May 6, 2018 | Updated 9:49 a.m. ET May 8, 2018
Cameron Pate-Addie, 18, experienced some tough times growing up. His father died when he was very young. His mother passed away when Pate-Addie was a freshman in high school.
When he came to Woodmont High School, Pate-Addie was living with his brother and struggling academically.
"But you would never have known that he was going through difficulties," said his school counselor Ashley Emmons. "He has always been so polite and upbeat, one of the nicest people you'll ever meet." With the help of loved ones and the Woodmont teaching staff, Pate-Addie has persevered and is now a graduating senior, bound for Lander University and a future teaching career.
Pate-Addie is one of 70 students being honored this year with an ACE Award, which recognizes young, unsung heroes in Greenville County.
Pate-Addie, who maintains a part-time job along with his studies, participated in Woodmont's Teacher Cadet program, which provides internships at elementary and middle schools for high school students interested in teaching. The experience confirmed Pate-Addie's aspirations to become a teacher. "He's very passionate about social studies and history, so he wants to be a social studies teacher," Emmons said. His school counselors expect great things from Pate-Addie.
"We're excited to see what he does in the future," said Alli Brown, another Woodmont counselor. "I think he's going to be very beneficial to some kids out there." The ACE (Advocates for Character and Education) Awards, recognizing eighth- and 12th-graders who've overcome tremendous odds, are sponsored by Coaches 4 Character. "It's all about honoring unsung heroes in Greenville County," said Greg Blatt, executive director of Coaches 4 Character. "These are students who've gotten lost in the shuffle," he said. "Their lives have been about tackling adversity, meeting challenges, and overcoming tough times through determination and perseverance. They've done amazing things in their lives but they've been overlooked."
One boy and one girl from each of the county’s 35 middle and high schools will be presented an ACE Award.
This year's speaker will be Will Muschamp, head football coach at the University of South Carolina. The ACE Awards are a partnership of The Greenville News, WYFF 4, Greenville County Schools, iHeartMEDIA and the Greenville Health System. Winners will receive a medallion, commemorative program/photo and a gift package. Two students also will be able to donate $500 each from Coaches 4 Character to the students’ favorite charity.
Several 12th-grade students also will receive college scholarships.