article by Geoffrey Melcher in The Sand Mountain Reporter
As 260 Albertville High School students walked across the aisle to retrieve their diplomas Friday, the uncertainty of an impending future might have been a new and unfamiliar sensation to some.

Will Siskey, a recent AHS graduate, is one of those students who is no stranger to adversity. He has learned through personal circumstance that life doesn’t always play out the way you want it to, although good things are always around the corner waiting to be taken advantage of.

Siskey, a varsity tennis player who suffers from Alopecia Universalis, an autoimmune disorder that’s affected his hair growth for a good portion of his life, has admittedly come a long way with the disease in becoming the better player and human being he wanted to be both on and off the court.
While he started playing tennis in fifth and sixth grade, with the help of Greg Henderson, who Siskey credits for “putting the racquet in my hand,” the youth took a drastic step his junior year in high school to follow his dreams and move to Florida to attend The Rick Macci Tennis Academy.

“I was frustrated where I was at one spring because I wasn’t progressing towards the way I’d like to be playing the game,” Siskey said.

“My mom asked me if I was willing to give up my friends and social life to pursue tennis further and I said ‘yes’.”

Siskey proceeded to hone his skills and train for six hours a day after moving to Florida, where he simultaneously took part in a case study concerning the research of hair loss in people with Alopecia.

According to Siskey, all the sacrifice by himself and his supportive family has finally payed off as he will be attending LaGrange College in Georgia on a tennis scholarship, playing on a Division III team on which he expects to start.

Though tennis is a huge part of Siskey’s life, he said he’s also looking forward to the continuously challenging himself in academics and as a person. He is interested in the culinary arts as well as growing spiritually while being away from home for the first time.

“God has given me so many talents I’d hate to cut one out,” said Siskey.

“I think my best is still yet to come in everything and I’m ready to take my game to the next level, Lord willing.”

Even with everything going according to plan with Siskey’s goals and future, the same couldn’t be said about his and his classmate’s special celebration, as Friday’s rainy weather pushed the AHS graduation ceremony indoors.

“We had to move into the new gym and even with it being extremely crowded, everybody showed good restraint and luckily we had an air conditioner,” said Albertville High School Principal Paul McAbee.

“The gym was packed full but the graduation turned out fine despite the rainy weather.”

Even though McAbee went on to praise Siskey for his maturity in stepping up to all the challenges life has thrown his way, both the student and principal agreed the outgoing seniors all share unique bonds that will last a lifetime.

“This was the last class that attended school in the old school before the tornado so I think that’s kind of special for them and us as a school,” said McAbee.

“I have no doubt this year’s graduating class was a great class whose students will go on to accomplish great things in the future.”

 


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