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– Editor’s note: In the next two issues, The Lancaster News will profile students who have overcome the odds to earn a high school diploma in 2013.
High school is one of the most challenging times in a young person’s life. The experience can be made harder when battling a physical disability.
On May 31, Ronald Taylor will cross the stage at Lancaster Memorial Stadium and receive an attendance certificate from Lancaster High School.
Taylor, 19, suffers from an orthopedic disability that causes mobility issues and forces him to walk with a push-walker, which can make getting around the three-story LHS school campus a challenge.
Despite any physical obstacles, Taylor says his greatest challenge in high school has been conquering math.
“I like numbers, but math is hard. It’s easy to make mistakes,” Taylor said.
Taylor has participated in the Occupational Credential Program at LHS and is really just an average teenage boy.
“I enjoy working on cars and hanging out with friends,” Taylor said. “I also like to spend time with my family.”
Pursuing his interests
During his time at his soon-to-be alma mater, Taylor has been active in auto mechanics at the Lancaster High School Career Center.
“I really like auto mechanics because you get to work with your hands a lot,” Taylor said. “There’s no guessing. Someone just tells you what their problem is.”
LHS Career Center auto mechanics instructor Rusty Catoe said Taylor is a dedicated and hard worker.
“He tries his best and gets along with everyone. If you give him a job he sticks with it until it’s done,” Catoe said. “Sometimes he gets so involved in what he’s doing that I have to make him go on to his next class.”
After high school, Taylor would like to continue pursuing his interest in auto mechanics, working for Catoe or another local shop, or do plumbing with his father, Ronald Taylor Sr.
“Those are just things I’m really interested in doing. I’m not sure what I’ll do,” Taylor said.
Dr. Joe Keenan, LHS principal, has gotten to know Taylor pretty well over his time at LHS.
“Ronald is an outstanding guy. He’s got a great attitude and good spirit. He’s done a great job with our auto mechanics program,” Keenan said. “Ronald just wants to be like everyone else. He wants to be one of the guys.”
Though Taylor is happy to be moving on to a new chapter of his life, he says he will miss some of the teachers he’s had while at LHS – especially Donna Bowers, and Catoe.
“I’ve gotten a lot of support from all of my teachers while I’ve been here,” Taylor said.
Bowers, who teaches Career Prep at LHS, works with Occupational Credential students to adapt to different careers and put a resume together. She said Taylor works hard at what he’s interested in.
“I got some good work out of him academically, but if you give him something he really likes doing – like auto mechanics – he focuses well,” Bowers said.
Taylor knows from firsthand experience that high school can be tough, but offers some sound advice for students thinking of quitting.
“Stay in school. Don’t drop out. I’ve got friends who want to drop out and I tell them not to quit – it’s not worth it,” Taylor said.
Contact Laura Caskey at (803) 283-1158