She walked onto the playing field at R. Harold Harrison Stadium with a smile that was as wide as the 100-yard playing surface.
In an announcement that surprised absolutely no one, AHS senior Kristen Clack was named Homecoming Queen Friday night and an entire community, even those who were not there, applauded this remarkable young woman. If you are looking for the inspirational story of the year in Barrow County, you need to look no further. Just seeing Kristen at the game Friday night, walking onto the field, escorted by her father and taking in the cheers of the crowd, was — in many ways — a miracle itself.
Clack was seriously injured in an automobile accident this summer and while the entire Barrow County community held its breath and hoped for the best, there were many who feared this type of recovery, especially this soon, was not possible.
All breathed a sigh of relief Friday, however, as a crown was placed on this young lady’s head. A young lady who has rallied a community, its two high schools and its citizens like no one else has in recent memory.
A star player on the softball field, Clack was unable to compete during her senior season but her name was one which was front and center at every game played. Other schools held fundraisers for her. Other schools joined in the support network which no doubt played a role in her remarkable recovery.
To see her Friday night soaking in the deserved glory and recognition she received, one would have never known just how the past few weeks have been a struggle for her. Yet as someone who truly believes in the power of positive thinking, I had a feeling we would see this special young lady bounce back, recover and continue to amaze all of us.
I’ll never forget the evening AHS softball coach Mike Cavey told me he actually talked to Clack and she was able to respond. The weight we all were carrying became a little less heavy that day even though the battle was still far from over.
Slowly but surely, however, and day after day, Clack, known to all as “P-Nut,” showed even more signs of recovering. And there she was Friday night at her school, taking part in a ceremony, which really was for more than just homecoming in so many ways.
The surprise this night wasn’t that she was crowned Miss Homecoming, but that she has come so far. It was as if each step she took walking onto the football field was a step displaying her recovery.
I’ve always believed our young people can never have enough support and encouragement. As a community, we often fall short in that area. However, in the case of Kristen “P-Nut” Clack, our community has done well. We have shown a bond, which outshines any negative created by the actions of our so-called political leaders. We have displayed to our neighboring counties just how we rally together when one of our own is in need. It’s one of those moments which makes you proud that this is your home.
The battle for Clack is in no way finished. She still has a long road in front of her.
Yet, with the continued support from the entire community, this incredible young person and future leader is going to be just fine.
Take a bow, Kristen, you certainly deserve it. And take a bow, Barrow County, you deserve it as well. What a great sign for our community when we rally around one of our own and help them through a difficult time. To me, this positive says a great deal about the place we live.
Chris Bridges is editor of the Barrow Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris, what a wonderful article!! At such a young age, Kristen has been an inspiration. I'm very proud of Barrow County for supporting both Kristen and her family. In the entire scheme of life, all that matters is that we help out each other. Great job Apalachee and WBHS schools. You've made your community proud.
Now to the politics in Barrow County---LEARN FROM OUR YOUTH!!!