Autistic student achieves high honors

Trey Lowe has defied the odds with his determination to learn and grow.

The salutatorian from Hutchings College and Career Academy will graduate Friday night despite the disabilities he’s faced while learning and earning the No. 2 spot.

“When he was 5 years old, he was diagnosed with autism,” Wylene Burney, Lowe’s mother, said. “And even though he has autism, he doesn’t let that hold him back.”

Derrick McCray, the principal of Hutchings, called Lowe “an extraordinary student” because his story personifies the phrase “believe it and you can achieve it.”

“He refuses to allow (his) conditions to hinder his performance in any way,” McCrary said. “If you were to pass him in the halls of Hutchings, you would see him meandering through with a big smile. If you were to observe him in a group setting, you would see him leading the group with a big smile.”

In school, Lowe said math was his favorite subject, adding that he also had an affinity for social studies and economics.

“I feel very good about graduating,” he said.

Lowe was also a member of the Yearbook Club and has been an active participant in the Envoy Project, a program that helps give student leaders a voice to spread a culture of achievement among their peers.

Like many teenage boys, Lowe is also passionate about video games. Among his favorite games are “Need for Speed” and ”Call of Duty.”

After graduation, his passion for gaming will take him to Full Sail University in Florida to study graphic design, with a focus in game art design.

For his salutatorian speech, Lowe said he’s going to talk about the value of hard work.

“I learned that success doesn’t come easy,” he said. “In order to be successful, you have to work for it before you can earn it. That’s how I see it.”

To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382.