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Shawnee Mission South singer with gifted voice has overcome many obstacles along his journey

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- He says he was gifted with a voice. This week's Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever is a well-rounded young man: he's the co-president of the animal rights club at Shawnee Mission South High School, runs on his school's cross country team, and is a member of the swim and dive team.

But that's not all; what it took to get him where he is today may surprise you.

Seventeen-year old Patrick Wiley has a personality larger than life. He loves to perform, even busting out a tune in the middle of our interview.

"I've paid my dues, time after time, I've done my sentence but committed no crime. And bad mistakes... I've made a few," he jingled.

Queen's "We are the Champions" couldn't be more perfect to describe his journey.

"I didn't feel like I was the captain of my own ship. When I was 10 months I was diagnosed with mild autism," he said.

Autism caused Patrick a lot of discomfort in his younger years.

"I've had sensitivity to noise so I wouldn't hang around people or I would cover my ears," he said.

He says he also struggles with generalized anxiety disorder.

"I have had a few attacks in my life," he said.

He made that decision at an early age -- and began exposing himself to what was for him -- uncomfortable situations. Things like going out in public and talking to people. That hard work definitely paid off.

"I've just been nominated for homecoming court," he said.

Now, loud noises don't bother him one bit. In fact, Patrick is a part of two choirs at Shawnee Mission South -- including the school's premier "Heritage Mixed Ensemble Choir." That choir was accepted to sing at a top state music conference in Kansas early next year.

"I'm proud, first of all and thrilled and honestly a little humbled because a lot of what he does has nothing to do with what I've worked with him on," choir director Jon Duncan said.

Duncan sees Patrick's passion day in and day out.

"He's going to be successful no matter what he's doing in his life," Duncan said.