J.T. Alton Middle School eighth-grader Adam Charney makes it a point to be there for students who often go unnoticed by others.
Charney, 13, of Radcliff, takes time to focus on students with multiple impairments at his school.
“In the morning I go get them breakfast and hand it out to them personally,” he said.
In the hall, he’ll stop to talk to them.
“I just want them to feel just like the rest of us,” he said.
He also meets them at the school bus and give them high-fives to start their day.
“I’ve learned that I’m a lot more generous than I thought I could be,” he said of the experience. “They’re just like us an they’re really fun people too.”
He’s thinking about encouraging other classmates to do it too.
“He’s always been a caring child,” his mom, Stormie Cunningham said.
She said he’s always cared for his family and often talks about what his friends at school go through. Knowing how he helps the students in low-incidence classrooms shows her he cares inside and outside the home.
Charney said he also tries to help new students feel comfortable by making a point of introducing himself and talking to them to help them feel welcome.
His caring nature is seen in everything he does at school.
“Adam is the embodiment of the culture we are trying to create here at JTA,” teacher and athletic director Richard Rowland said. “He goes out of his way to fully support all of his fellow classmates here at Alton, from the low-incidence room to the classroom and definitely in the locker room, he is a constant source of encouragement and positivity.”
In the past decade, Charney is one of the few student-athletes Rowland said leaves everything out on the field.
Charney plays football and basketball at JTA.
Cunningham said Charney’s determination shows in everything he does.
“If he wants to learn something he’ll drive you nuts to learn it and he will pound it until he figures it out,” she said.
“He has a good sense of humor but when it’s time to get serious, he gets serious and is focused on and off the field,” football coach Quanterrial Parmes said.
He’s noticed how Charney will go out of his way to help others.
“He’s one of my leaders,” Parmes said adding he already knows what the coach means or needs in the game, often before he says it. “He has a natural ability to adapt on the field.”
Parmes said Charney has a high sports IQ and that he’s not surprised that his favorite subject is social studies because he has an outstanding memory. He can remember stats, current players and players who did things before he was born, Parmes said. Charney said he enjoys school.
“There’s a lot of interesting subjects here at JTA and I’m in a lot of accelerated classes and it challenges me, I like that too,” he said.
Intelligence is something that’s important to Charney.
“I want to be successful later in life and I feel like intelligence comes along with that,” he said.
His sixth-grade year he won a National Geographic award, outranking everyone in the school in social studies. When he was in the seventh-grade, he won the Trojan Spirit award. Parmes said Charney goes to games of sports he isn’t even involved in to cheer on other athletes.
In the future, he wants to attend the University of Alabama to study sports journalism.