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Staley swimmer with unshakable spirit and attitude excels in and out of the pool

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Staley High School senior Jack Roberts is the captain of his swim team and very successful in the classroom, but he's had to overcome a few more obstacles to be where he is today. He's this week's Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever.

"I had a stroke when I was born," he said.

A stroke that no one knew about until he was 5 months old.

"My dad was basically like, he's kicking only with one side when I was in the bath," Roberts said.

His mother agreed, and knew something wasn't quite right.

"Four doctors told her nothing was wrong. But she kept saying, something is, something is, we need to figure this out," Roberts said.

After months of research, and jumping from doctor to doctor, his family learned their little boy had Hemiplegia -- a mild form of cerebral palsy that affects his right side.

"I have a little bit of a limp, my right arm is weaker than my left arm," he explained.

But that diagnosis never changed this young man's outlook -- if anything, it made him stronger.

"I always look at it as a bonus. I always look at it as I was put here to prove something wrong and not to let it hinder me at all," he said.

Roberts is not only a great swimmer -- he's the lead captain of the Staley's swim team.

"He just strives to do his best at everything he does, which I think is such a great example for all the other swimmers on this whole deck," said coach Ian Johnston.

Coach Johnston says he couldn't be more proud of Roberts -- who he says is just as serious out of the pool as he is in it.

"He is driven, he is a great leader, he is such a fantastic student-athlete," the coach said.

Roberts excels in the classroom in an advanced placement literature. He was the first Staley qualifier for nationals -- for Future Business Leaders of America, held in Anaheim, California this past summer.

His unshakable attitude and spirit make him stand out the most.

"I'm just like you. I talk just like you, I go to the same school, I drive, I do all this stuff, I'm not that much different," he said.

Roberts has a part-time job at a construction company doing IT work. He's applying to colleges, and would love to attend the University of Iowa to study finance.
His goal is to be a hedge fund manager based in California.