Joshua Bos, 18, of Loudon, will receive the "Yes I Can! Award" from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) in April.
"'The Yes I Can! Awards' were developed to honor students with disabilities who have achieved great things," says CEC President Kathleen Puckett. "Joshua exemplifies the spirit of these awards with his hard work and perseverance."
Bos, who has a cognitive disability and an emotional disturbance, suffered abuse as a young child and spent time in foster care - these experiences affected his ability to form close personal relationships, according to a release from the CEC. His life began to turn around when he was adopted by his grandparents and started participating in sports. He also entered an anger management treatment center to overcome his emotional problems.
Bos has since become a top runner at Loudon High School. He is a member of Loudon's cross country team and has set team records in both one-mile and two-mile races.
Outside of school, he has participated in numerous local 5Ks and a half-marathon held in Knoxville. He is also a member of the Loudon High School swim team, specializing in the freestyle event.
Each year, CEC honors 27 students with disabilities who have excelled. Awards are given in nine categories: academics, arts, athletics, community service, employment, extracurricular activities, independent living skills, self-advocacy and technology.
CEC leaders said they are proud to honor Bos with this award in the athletics category.
"He is very proud of his accomplishments and encourages others to find ways to be active and healthy," said teacher Jodi Smith. "Josh has a busy schedule, which has enhanced his high school experience and improved his self-esteem."
Bos practices swimming and running daily and can often be seen around Loudon training for cross-country meets. He has become known as "The Marathon Kid" - and has expressed a desire to complete a 26.2-mile race.
"Josh is clearly a winner, not only in athletics, but in life. His hard work, positive attitude, and perseverance will take him far in whatever he chooses to do," said coach Karen Latus.
CEC is an international community of educators who are the voice and vision of special and gifted education with a mission to improve the quality of life for individuals with exceptionalities and their families through professional excellence and advocacy.