CHARACTER COUNTS NOMINATIONS

Veritas Prep tennis player not letting his disability slow him down

Oct 22, 2018, 6:56 PM

For Veritas Prep tennis player Zachary Radack, helping others comes second nature.

He is often biking around his neighborhood looking to lend a hand to whoever needs it or helping lead the tennis program with his positive energy.

“I don’t really know why I do it,” Radack said. “It’s more of a natural thing for me.”

And when he’s not riding around, he can found helping fellow students with just about anything they have going on.

Radak is autistic, but he isn’t leaning on his disability or making excuses to thrive in the world around him.

“Despite having Asperger’s and being on the spectrum and not being diagnosed until he was in the second grade, not being able to read until he was nearly in fifth grade, he is at an honors curriculum school,” his teacher, Purvi Gordon, said of the tennis player. “Of my 10-year teaching career, I’ve had three of my 60 to 70 autistic students matriculate and he’s on his way to doing that.

“To really think about the impact he has made … It really just blows my mind to really think about what he is going to continue to do as he obtains a college degree.”

Not only does Radack sport a 2.7 GPA taking all honors classes — weighted it’s a 3.7 — he is reading in three languages and has played varsity tennis since his freshman year.

His education isn’t the only thing he is worried about, however. He’s helping build a better future for the next generation.

“Zach built our library at Veritas Prep. It was all in boxes and piles and he has helped individually catalog every single book to make sure that our library is active and available for our students to use on a day-to-day basis,” Gordon said of Radack’s determination. “I’m talking thousands and thousands of books.”

Radack has been helping put together the library since he was in sixth grade.

Looking into his future, Radack wants to attend the University of Arizona, not only because he believes it’s a great school but because it will allow him to gain some independence.

While he is realistic about what he wants to do and become, he has his eyes set on changing the gaming landscape.

“My ultimate goal is to get into game development and become an independent game developer,” Radack said of his college and career ambitions. “I’m going to try to go into computer science and try to get into software engineering or something to that nature.

“Where I end up, I don’t know, but somewhere is where.”

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