By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal
All graduates use their determination, focus, and hard work to step onto the stage to get their diploma and one Noxapater senior had a unique set of challenges to overcome to gain his accomplishment. When 18-year-old Patrick Files rolls across to receive his high school diploma, he will have accomplished much more than many would have guessed when he was born. “He was given only 3 hours to live when he was born,” said his mother, Effie Regina Files. Patrick Files has endured over 30 procedures since his harrowing birth yet he has never given up on his goals. “Doctors told my mother and father I would never do anything and would not be able to take care of myself but I can do almost anything now and will soon have a driver’s license,” said Patrick Files. Despite the many challenges of being wheel chair bound— Files has defied the odds, been involved and earned his diploma from Noxapater High School. “We had to get the school to modify the bathroom but overall most everyone has been very supportive,” said Patrick Files. Patrick Files added that it was important to him to live as a normal life as possible so he took on extra challenges in school “Being involved as a manager on the football team, in Tiger Stripes, Teens on the Move and FCA really was great,” said Patrick Files. “And I would have never got involved with the football team without Coach Tyler Peterson.” Patrick Files added that Coach Peterson’s encouragement really helped and being part of the team had provided him with some of his best memories and best times. Patrick Files also credited his family and the community as a whole for their support. “My family and the Noxapater teachers, students are awesome,” said Patrick Files. His mother noted that both teachers and students went out of their way to show their concern when Patrick was in the hospital during a part of the football season. Both of Patrick’s parents are proud of his accomplishments and are encouraging in his future goals. “Our job as a parents is to have our children reach their full potential and that has been my goal for 18 years,” said Regina Files. She added that Patrick may have had to work harder to reach those goals but life is full of challenges and opportunities. Patrick Files plans to continue his education and take classes through ECCC to become a police dispatcher.