Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Commitment
At almost 5’6”, 175 pounds, Shane Halpin may be the smallest offensive lineman in the county but his determination and can-do attitude make him an unstoppable force. As captain of the offensive line and the starting center, he has earned the respect of his teammates, coaches, and fans alike. At the age of four, Shane was diagnosed with binocular dysfunction and developmental delays – making any fine and gross motor skills a tremendous challenge. Tasks as simple as running, jumping, coloring, using eating utensils, writing etc…, which most people take for granted, were terribly difficult for Shane. After physical therapy, occupational therapy, neuromuscular therapy, vision therapy, adaptive PE classes, and ESE classes, Shane learned his deficits will more than likely always be a part of his life, but he can overcome them and make them less pronounced with hard work.
Shane is currently a straight-A Honors student. Many of his teachers have said they have never taught a student like Shane before or seen a student work so hard. Whereas most students may be able to write a paper in two hours, it will take Shane six to eight hours to write the same paper. It is not uncommon for Shane to stay up until well past midnight studying and set his alarm for 4 or 5 a.m. to continue his studies. Shane does not want special accommodations or an easier class load, he is determined he can do it in spite of his deficiencies. Shane’s desire to be the best he can be is not just exemplified in academics but in athletics as well.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears – Courage
This is Shane’s 12th year playing football. Shane endured much ridicule from teammates and good-natured laughter from parents when he first began playing football because he was smaller than his teammates and struggled with his running and pretty much all other drills. Again, having difficulty with all physical tasks, he was forced to concentrate very hard to find ways to overcome these challenges throughout the years. Each time he had a new coach, he had to start over proving himself. However, regardless of his small size and lack of coordination, each year, with the exception of one where a coach would not give him a chance, he proved to his coaches he was the best person for starting center or guard and earned the respect of parents and fans alike. Shane’s toughness and bravery became an inspiration for his teammates and those of us who watched him perform.
While playing recreation league around 4th grade, Shane was doing up-downs with the team to warm up before the game. When they finished, the coach asked Shane why he had red all over his hands. Shane said there was broken glass under him but he didn’t want to stop since his teammates were still doing them. They taped Shane’s cut and bloodied hands and he played the entire game – even having to change and snap the ball with his left hand. Shane has been flipped, knocked to the ground, and beaten up time and again on the football field, but he still hustles, gets right back up, and gets the job done. Regardless of his opponents’ size, Shane will protect his quarterback and not let down his teammates. Despite the bruises, blood or pain, you will never hear Shane complain. His first response is always “I’m fine, let’s go”. The football field provides an escape from Shane’s everyday reality of his disability. With his hard work and refusal to accept defeat, he shines on the field. He proves that having a strong heart and mindset is just as important as having physical ability. Shane’s coaches and teammates have become family to him and he will do anything for them. Shane’s dream is to play college ball and eventually coach college football.
Through Thick and Thin - Commitment
In January of 2009 while walking into the Senior Bowl game in Mobile, Alabama, Shane was struck by a full-size truck driven by a tailgater and pinned underneath the tire. Shane was rushed by ambulance to the closest trauma hospital. Despite his injuries, Shane’s only concern was that the rest of his family not have to miss the Senior Bowl game. After an initial evaluation by the ER physician, the doctor reported that Shane was “one incredibly brave and tough kid.” He said that Shane refused to take any pain medication so they had to put morphine in his IV as his blood pressure was dangerously high. Shane suffered numerous contusions to his leg, knee and ankle, which resulted in him not being allowed to finish his 10th-grade wrestling season, in which he had just been able to wrestle in his first varsity wrestling meet the week before. Although, Shane unsuccessfully begged his coach to let him play with his injuries, he continued to support and encourage his teammates by attending practices and meets throughout the rest of the season. He did not let his pain, development of infections, or eventual scars have any impact on his attitude or capabilities.
Hard-working, Humble and Honorable - Character
At his elementary graduation in 5th grade, Shane was the one male student selected for the Elks Americanism Award which shows patriotic achievements and leadership in school and the community. In 9th -grade football, there are two awards given at the football banquet – academics and the John Jeffcoat Memorial Award. Shane received the John Jeffcoat Memorial Award, which is given to the best player who exemplifies the attributes of sportsmanship, respect for coaches and fellow players, hustle and desire, both on and off the field.
Shane refuses to go to parties because he doesn’t want to be associated with drinking or anything that can hurt or disappoint him, his teammates, or his coaches. Shane goes in early as often as possible to speak with his coaches, watch game film, or help teammates who may be struggling. This summer the high school football team decided to have seniors mentor younger players in an “All-In” competition. Under Shane’s leadership, his team won! Shane also makes time to serve his community and others and he is the lead usher at our church and participates in other community service activities. He attended a mission trip to a third-world country last year to help feed the poor. Shane strives to set a good example in all that he does, both on and off the field.
Leaving a Legacy: contribution
Shane is the most determined, hardest working individual I’ve ever known. The words I write about him will never do justice to adequately express the depth of his integrity, character, and leadership. Shane knows he is different but uses his differences to better himself and others around him. Although he is successful in the classroom and on the football field, he never takes his accomplishments for granted. He is humble and kind to everyone. He wants his teammates, friends, and every student to reach their potential through his example, even when there are major obstacles in the way. Shane is all heart and his life is a model for all of us – kids and adults alike!