CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio– Inspiration can come from many sources.
At Price Elementary School in Cuyahoga Falls, that inspiration came from Zion Clark.
He has caudal regression syndrome, a condition where he was born without legs. But Clark is a winning wrestler at Kent State’s Tuscarawas campus.
When students saw a video of what he is able to do on the wrestling mat, they decided to write letters to him. Those letters nearly moved Zion to tears.
“I’m sitting there and I’m like wow. I didn’t know what to think of it. I read them. I read each of them two to three times before I went to the next one so that I could really understand what they were saying,” Zion said.
In those letters, the children talked about their own struggles with school work, siblings and being different. Some of the children have parents who were refugees from Bhutan and Syria, and are learning to live in a new place.
Clark knows what it’s like to be treated like he’s different. So he came to the school on Friday to share his story and to let them know that being different is actually really cool.
“The more nervous you are you can either stand your ground and do something, or you can back away. I chose not to back away,” Clark said.
Now the students at Price Elementary want to be like Clark. A girl’s drawing in one of the letters read, “Be a Zion.” It was turned into a T-shirt.
So what is being a Zion all about?
“Life is always a struggle and nothing can come easy without hard work,” said Saurab Dhakal, a fourth grader. “He made me feel like I could do anything in the world.”
Feeling confident enough to live your dreams, no matter where you started in life, is what Clark hopes these children take away from his visit.
Clark said he’s first working hard to get through finals at Kent State. He said he plans on continuing his training to make the U.S. Paralympic Team in 2020.