This story in the Baltimore Sun is about a high school boy who excels academically despite his physical limitations resulting from spinal muscular atrophy, which makes him extremely weak and requires him to rely on the assistance of caregivers for almost everything.
But the really inspiring thing about this high schooler, Ofek Cohen, is that even though his capabilities are limited, he purposely seeks out ways to make the best of the skills that he does have. For example, Cohen’s disability makes it impossible for him to play sports, but he still wanted to be involved with something competitive, so he learned how to play chess. After teaching himself how to play, he has since gone on to win his county’s chess tournament for two years in a row. Similarly, Cohen says he is “really proud of [his] ability to think,” which has helped him maintain a 3.8 grade-point-average and earn induction into the National Honor Society.
Reading this article, I was struck by how positive this 16-year-old was and how he truly embodied the idea of doing the best with what you have. The story itself is local, but the message behind it is clearly universal.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.