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3/27/02 - Chapel Hill

Student Named Horatio Alger National Scholar

Denise Stanley anticipates every class at Chapel Hill High School. That may not sound like your typical teen, but Denise isn't your average student.

"I had kidney disease that I was diagnosed with when I was 8," says Denise. "I had two surgeries and was not expected to live."

Overcoming that life adversity is how the high school senior was selected from thousands of applicants to go to Washington to accept an Horatio Alger Scholarship.

"People say you love school and I say yes I enjoy school because I have been without it and I know what it is like to not have school. It just makes me work harder," says Denise.

Actually many of Denise's classmates and teachers at Chapel Hill never even knew the senior suffered from near deadly health complications. Instead she's known as the active student who embraces life in everything from the senate to tennis.

"I don't think she's missed a day of school all year, perfect attendance," says Jan cooper, Denise's teacher. "She's always willing to help out with anything so it's real obvious she's never let her problems interfere or become and excuse for anything."

Denise's type of attitude is what the Horatio Alger foundation champions-- integrity, hard work, determination and perseverance in overcoming adversity. Chapel Hill's principal calls Denise a role model for his kids.

"They can look at Denise everyday in the hallway in the classroom and say i can overcome adversity also and be champions," says Greg Wright, Chapel Hill High School Principal.

But Denise says she couldn't have overcome her life's struggles to become a successful student alone, her family at home and at chapel hill have been by her side every step of the way.

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