Nate Datko, Overcoming Obstacles To Find Academic And Athletic Success With The Help Of “A Village”(07/24/20)

(All photos submitted) Above: Nate, with sister Eliza, mother Christie and father Darrell, on his Clarion Area High School graduation day.

Following, you will find a story of a young man, Nate Datko, who overcame major obstacles to achieve academic and athletic success. You will see how through perseverance, his own and his loving parents,’ along with the help of a number of individuals and organizations along the way, this young man has been able to work through many of the struggles involved with autism and Chiari I Malformation, to achieve much more than maybe anyone who knew his situation would have thought possible.

It is a story of inspiration, a story of hope to other families who may be are facing circumstances as the Datko’s faced (and a perfect example that “It Takes A Village”).

This story is best told by Nate, his family and some of the others who have shared this journey with them. Be prepared to shed a tear or two as you read this inspiring story of obstacles overcome, and victories won. It is a long read, but very much, worth every minute.

I’ll step out of the way now and let those who are part of this story, share their thoughts with you.

(Various individuals who played a substantial part in Nate’s success are highlighted in Bold Print. They are fine examples of what community is about.)

Mom, Christie Datko

All parents have a sense of pride when they watch their child have success in sports and academics. Some may say, my husband and I take that statement to a new level.  Anyone who ever witnessed us at one of Nate’s baseball, basketball, flag football games or cross country meets over the years would probably say we were “over the top” when it came to being excited when Nate made a great play or ran a great race. We also took his frustrations and feelings of defeat to heart when it just wasn’t a good game or race. Every pitch he’d throw, every ball he caught, every swing he took, every ball he stole, basket he shot and every mile he ran we would hold our breaths hoping for the successful outcome. 

I’m sure other parents can relate to that, but our emotional reactions may be for a different reason than other parents.  Some really feel a sense of pride in that win, medal, or title because it signifies that their child is a great athlete and may have potential to play at the next level. 

For Darrell and me, it was about a whole lot more.

Watching Nate being able to communicate and interact with his teammates and having the physical and mental ability to be able to execute skills required to play and enjoy the sport was our medal and our win. 

At the age of three, Nate was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder and Chiari I Malformation. Pervasive Development Disorder is a form of Autism. This disorder can look quite different in each child who has it.  For Nate it meant having the inability to speak, fits of crying and screaming, due to anxiety when entering into social settings, repetitive behavior, lack of age appropriate play skills and sensory issues such as intolerance of loud sounds.   

Separation anxiety and lack of socialization skills were big issues for Nate so having him attend preschool was one way we were able to help him overcome both issues. Thomas the Train was something he would carry with him to help comfort him in stressful situations. This picture was during a Christmas party at The Clarion Christian Preschool.

The physical limitations, thought to be due to Chiari I, were less severe although stiffness and muscle rigidity were evident from birth. 

His fine motor skills were also an area of deficit, so writing, coloring and buttoning his clothes were areas of delay for Nate. His delays were severe enough, that the Pittsburgh Children’s Development Center recommended 40 hours a week of Wrap Around Services (TSS).  I know my first thought was…”What??? That means someone else is going to raise my child?”  No, that didn’t seem right to me, so I made sure that I was gonna learn as much as I could about Autism and be right there with Nate as services were going on. One of the last things the neurologist said to me before we left the office after this diagnosis was, ‘Do not coddle him.’ I always kept that in my mind and tried to always be aware of that and not fall into making excuses for him.

Many people in our community often said that the best treatment center for Autism could be found in Pittsburgh. There were parents of Autistic children who stated that they wished they lived closer to Pittsburgh to get better care. 

However, I must say, Bobbi (Simpson) Freeman was absolutely the most knowledgeable behavioral specialist I had ever met, when it came to understanding Autism. She taught me so much about the disorder and how to work with Nate to help him reach goals and overcome his deficits. 

Bobbi put together an autism support group here in Clarion along with Jen and Jami Simpson. Quite a few parents, including myself, benefited from that group. 

Bobbie Freeman who had been Nate’s behavioral specialist when he was a toddler is seen here reffing one of his eighth grade basketball games.

We would attend workshops together and learn how to help our children as much as we could. The Clarion University Speech Department, Infant Stimulation, Riverview IU Preschool and Clarion Christian Preschool run by Linda Whitling were also an integral part of Nate’s development.

Basically, everything that came natural to most children had to be taught to Nate. We spent numerous hours incorporating oral motor exercises into his daily life. He literally was still drooling at the age of three, so activities like blowing cotton balls across a table with a straw and sucking a lollipop was a challenge for him. However, they were the first steps toward getting him to speak.

Since Nate was an “only child” at the time, we had to seek out play groups and opportunities for him to be around other children, as that was also an important part of helping his socialization progress.

I had to write social stories for him, which were stories about him and different situations he may encounter. For instance, if he went to the park and another child said, “Hi” to him and wanted to play, what should his reaction be? Seems simple, but Nate had to rehearse giving an appropriate response. It was not natural to him.

This was a fun game that would help Nate learn to tolerate pressure, as well as problem solving while engaging muscles groups he wouldn’t ordinarily use.

In order to work through his anxiety of entering a store or type of event where there were crowds, I basically had to just continue to expose him to those situations, as he would melt down.  It would have been so much easier to just keep him out of those environments, but he would never have overcome the fear of being in public places.

As far as his physical limits, we spent hours using different types of adaptive pencils and playing games that required him to use his fine motor muscles and coordination. Also, no matter how much we worked on teaching Nate to swing himself, he just couldn’t get that process down.

This was a type of activity Nate’s parents and instructors frequently did with Nate to help him process sensory stimulation.

We had a goal to get Nate ready to start school at the highest level we could possibly achieve.  This did not involve just one person, this entailed his speech therapists, behavioral specialists, preschool teachers. Everyone worked together and recorded his goals and progress when they were with him. 

We waited until he was six to send him to school, so he got three years to prepare for kindergarten. By the time kindergarten came, it felt like he had been in school forever. 

The school psychologist did his evaluation on Nate before Nate started kindergarten and suggested we not have an Individual Education Program (IEP) or aid and told us there was no need to tell the teachers of his diagnosis as his deficits were barely noticeable.

(An IEP is a plan that is developed by school staff, therapists, psychologists and parents to help the child with disabilities achieve desired goals.  It consists of a treatment plan and allows for accommodations or adaptations to help the child reach academic goals.  That can be having an aid with a student, modified tests, more time to take a test, being allowed to leave class and enter a quieter room if a child is overwhelmed.  Those are just a few of the examples of what an IEP could do to help a child.  I found out recently that colleges even offer IEPs. Would have made life easier for Nate, but as I said before, I knew he had potential to make it without it and I wanted to push him as much as I could because I knew that someday, he would not be able to have those adaptations.)

There are so many people in this community who really did help Nate to become successful as a student and athlete and Nate said he would like to thank them. He does not feel comfortable drawing attention to himself as some type of hero, because he knows there are so many kids out there who have much more severe disabilities and struggles, but he definitely would like to share how sports helped him to overcome obstacles and thank those coaches who took the time to teach him and had patience with him.  

Not many will know this either, but he played YMCA flag football all his elementary year and loved it, but after a few weeks at the junior high level he hated it.  One of the big reasons…. he could not tolerate the sensory issues that came with wearing a helmet or shoulder pads.  He also struggled with plays he was given as he had trouble processing everything he needed to watch for before he moved…  He had played basketball from first grade until ninth grade and was a good player who loved playing defense.  He was very fortunate to have basketball coaches throughout those years, such as Keith Murtha, Jason Craig, Jason Say and Joel German, who really had patience to teach him in the visual manner which was best for his success.  

Nate (34) not backing down and showing great determination!

So fast forward to this moment and Nate seems like any ordinary teenager. He had to work hard in school and took some tough classes but never missed the honor roll from seventh grade to his senior year. He graduated with a 94.33 GPA and never missed a day of high school. He achieved some wonderful trophies and medals from his extracurricular activities. He has spent hours volunteering in our community and even has worked as a dishwasher for the past three years at the Wayside

Nate is starting Clarion University in the fall and will be majoring in speech pathology. I don’t say this to brag, I say this to give hope to parents who may be questioning whether their child will ever live a functional life. There definitely will be ups and downs, but the work you put into helping your child develop skills will pay off. They will go above and beyond what you have imagined. 

Dad, Darrell Datko

I’m not gonna lie. Hearing that my son had autism, when he was around three, was not something I handled well. I think the toughest part for me was not knowing if he would develop the skills to function in society. I was not familiar with autism. I quickly learned that there were so many kids in our community who had been diagnosed with the same thing, but no two children behaved the same or had the same issues.

Looking back, I can’t believe the things he’s accomplished. 

I wasn’t sure he would ever be able to be part of a team, let alone be an athlete on six teams which made it to the state level from little league to the varsity level. He got to play baseball and run against some of the best athletes in the state. None of that would have been possible without so many people working to help him meet and overcome his challenges.

So many Little League dads in this community, such as Joel German, Garrett Goheen, Randy Callen, and Kenn Staub helped give Nate his start with baseball and provided tournaments for Nate to attend every weekend for several years. The same happened with basketball, as Keith Murtha and Jason Craig really saw Nate’s potential and helped him develop skills on the court and provided tournament opportunities for him from fourth grade to ninth. The baseball and basketball tournament teams were usually the same kids and Nate was able to really develop his social skills through that interaction with his teammates. 

Nate (standing far right) with his 2014 Section 1 Little League Champion teammates and Coaches

I cannot thank those fathers enough for all they did.

It was not always easy to coach Nate, as his fear of failure was a curse and a blessing. When the game or meet didn’t turn out well for him, he’d never blame anyone else. But he’d really get down on himself and unlike many of the players who seemed to be able to let a loss go, Nate couldn’t. 

I think cross country was the most frustrating sport for him as he would run anywhere from 6 to 13 miles a day, in any kind of whether just trying to make that top seven on our varsity team.  He’d be careful to only eat healthy foods and never cheat by eating sweets, as he knew that would help his times. This went on for five years. 

He never took a day off, even when his coaches advised him to. In Nate’s mind, pushing himself and never letting up was gonna get him a better time, but it really caused injuries to him.  He finally made it as the sixth runner on our cross country team, his senior year, when the team qualified for the State Championship Meet. Part of him reaching that goal was once again due to great coaching from Keith Murtha, Tammy Lerch and Bill Grove.

Nate competing his senior year at the PIAA Cross Country Championship meet (Time: 19 minutes 22 seconds)

Nate also had to work hard with his academics.  He spent hours after school working on homework and studying.  It did not come easy for him at all.  In fact, he did not ever miss a day of high school because he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to catch up on his work or understand the material.  I know that many kids have higher grades than him, but his 3.75 GPA is something I could not be more proud of because I know the work that went into him earning that.

I guess the medals will collect dust, but the hard work and discipline he has learned will be something that I hope lasts forever and helps him as he goes through college.

Nate Datko

To most people, I seem like just a quiet guy, but like many kids, I faced struggles.  Those struggles began early for me with developmental delays and although I have overcome many, I still have work to do.  Learning in the classroom, specifically in junior high and high school, was rough as I never felt comfortable asking questions when I didn’t understand the concepts being presented.  Some teachers and classmates were not so kind the few times I did ask a question.  I would have to come home and spend quite a bit of time trying to learn what was taught in class by using the internet. My parents were constantly teaching me, trying to find ways to help me understand class work.

Two of the teachers, who really put time into helping me were Mr. Harmon and Mrs. Cumpston. For four months straight, Mr. Harmon would meet with me every morning before class to go over Geometry. Many of those mornings I would go straight from 6:45 a.m. throwing practice with Mr. Weber and Mr. Jewett, to Geometry with Mr. Harmon at 7:15. When I was in eighth grade, I remember Mrs. Cumpston meeting with me before class several mornings to help me learn how to give speeches in her class.  I truly appreciate the extra time they put into helping me be successful.

As far as sports went, I guess I’ve played sports since I was five years old.  It began with tee ball and YMCA basketball. I would say basketball came more natural for me. I do not think I was easy to coach when I was younger, as I could get frustrated when coaches would simply tell me to do something and I had no idea how to attempt to do the things they wanted me to do. I did not speak much, so I would not ask any questions. Of course, my mom stepped in and spoke with my coaches about the fact that I needed to be shown what they expected and how to execute, not simply told. 

Nate in Minor League

I had some great coaches who had patience with me and were very good at knowing how to teach me skills. Joel German, Randy Callen, Jason Say, Jason Craig, Keith Murtha, Kenn Staub and Todd Smith were excellent coaches. I never could respond well to the coaches that would scream and yell, but that had its advantages to. It taught me that not everyone is going to adapt to suit my needs and I’m glad they didn’t.

(Photo by Matt Lerch) Pictured are Coach Keith Murtha, Nate Datko, Alex Cussins, Nick Frederick, Nathaniel Lerch and Assistant Coach Tammy Lerch during Senior Night in 2019.

One of the physical limitations I have had is that my body is rigid, which poses a problem with sports. Despite taking swimming lessons, I was never able to swim.  Many times, for cross country, we would have pool workouts in which I had to stay on the shallow end of the pool.  Volunteer Coach Bill Grove took it upon himself to teach me to swim. He was amazed that my muscles would not relax enough and I’d just sink. Finally, he got me to the point that I could swim. 

Coach Bill Grove presents Nate with the “Bill Grove Dedication Award” in Cross Country at 2019 banquet.

For baseball, that movement limitation, posed a huge problem and I think every single coach I had told me, “turn your hips” If I had heard that once, I had heard it a million times. I would literally practice hitting a tire with my bat trying to master that. To this day, I can’t turn my hips which would give me more power to hit out of the infield.  I never really had trouble connecting as I only struck out twice last season, but I needed to be able to hit harder. What I have had to do is adapt to the limitation.  I tried different ways to achieve a better hit, everything from bat size to where I stand in the box. 

Finally, my grandfather suggested choking up on the bat no matter what and moving up in the box. It truly helped me last season. I ended up having twenty-five  hits to help my team throughout the season. They may have all been singles, but they were still hits.

Sports played a big part in helping me to overcome the many delays I had early on, but the teachers, coaches, and all those who provided those opportunities are also a big part of why I have had success.

I know my parents never gave up on me and never doubted what I could accomplish and if they hadn’t worked with me like they did, my life would look a lot different now. I don’t think I would be able to do all that I can now. I’m able to work, volunteer, talk with people, and I plan on attending Clarion University in the fall and my major will be speech pathology. 

I know my experience will definitely help me to understand the challenges people with disabilities face and hopefully, I can help make a difference and improve their quality of life. 

2019 Bobcat Cross Country Team

Keith Murtha – Clarion Area Cross Country Coach, Junior High Boys Basketball Coach

I have had the opportunity to coach Nate in several different environments since Little League and elementary basketball, but the growth I have seen in him has been tremendous. This growth allowed him to go into seventh and eighth grade and try all kinds of events in Junior High track against competitors from schools of all sizes from across the state.  Junior High track led to Cross Country, which is where his tenacity really shined. It wasn’t always an easy road but Nate always worked hard and persevered which led to him being part of two State Championship qualifying teams, not to mention the State Championship game in baseball! 

Now Nate is off to a service profession in speech pathology, where we expect more of the same, few words, lots of hard work and lots of results!  He will be attending Clarion University this fall as they say, “Fly Eagle Fly”

A little unorthodox pitching motion, but it works for Nate.

Rob Jewett – Clarion Area Baseball Coach

Nate started for me as a freshman for his defense and ability to put the ball in play.  He excelled each year for me.  Last year was his best year overall.  He was a tremendous outfielder for us. 

He batted over .400 and even pitched significant innings.  All of his success can be attributed to his hard work ethic. I can honestly say he was the hardest working player I had the past four years.  His eyes would light up if it was conditioning, and he always finished first! He wanted to be challenged, and I think that is why he started pitching, which he got better at. 

It didn’t seem like anything fazed him, to the point where I had to make it a game for the players to try and make Nate smile. I just wanted him to enjoy all of his hard work! 

Nate not only achieved success for me on the baseball field through hard work, but he also did it in the classroom.  I know he worked really hard at math and it paid off for him his senior year as he got straight A’s for me in his Statistics class. 

I really enjoyed my time with Nate and I can say that for my other coaches too.  He listened, worked hard and wasn’t afraid to try anything.  His mom and dad should be really proud of what he has accomplished (I know they are!!). 

While I will miss him greatly on the baseball field and in the classroom, I know he will be successful in the next chapter of his life!  He has that determination and work ethic that will take him far in life!!!

Nate after the 2017 PIAA Class 1A baseball state championship game. He was a starting outfielder as a freshman.

Lee Weber – Clarion Area Assistant Baseball Coach

Nate is a goal oriented, dedicated and self- motivated individual.  His work ethic is outstanding. Nate was an underrated athlete because he was quiet and to himself.  His technique was not the best, but he is a great competitor and rises to the occasion when he is needed.  His competitive nature makes him a tough performer under pressure. Nate also displays sportsmanship at all times and is a leader by example.  He will always hustle and is unselfish.  

Nate is a three year letter winner in baseball and played since he was a freshman. Unfortunately, he did not have his senior season due to COVID-19.  He worked very hard as an outfielder/third baseman/pitcher, because our program needed him to play these positions to have the best opportunity to be successful. His willingness to do this is an example of his unselfishness and commitment to his team.

Nate is a well-rounded individual, with multiple interests and is highly successful in all the things he does. Nate is well disciplined, courteous, responsible and extremely reliable.  He has shown so much growth throughout his high school years!  Our baseball program will miss Nate!

Susan G. Cumpston – English Teacher Clarion Area

Nate was a student in my seventh and eighth grade English class. During that time, he displayed a profound understanding of whatever topics were being discussed. He had an innate curiosity about literature and reading. He demonstrated initiative to ensure that he fully understood what was being covered in class, even going the extra mile seeking additional tutoring and instruction outside of the regular class day. Nate was always prepared for class and wanted to know what he could do to improve not only his grades, but his learning.

I was never aware of Nate’s learning disability, until Mrs. Dakto shared them with me. The fact that he overcame these obstacles is testimony to his character. I feel confident that Nate will continue to succeed in his studies. Nate was a dedicated student; he did very well during his time at Clarion Area High School both academically and athletically. He is an above-average student which is a direct result of his hard work and strong focus on learning.

Bobbie Freeman – BSC/MT                                                            

My name is Bobbie Freeman. I’m currently a Special Education teacher at Clarion-Limestone Elementary School. Prior to my current job, I worked as a BSC/MT (Behavior Specialist Consultant/Mobile Therapist). I was contacted by Christie, in which she gave me permission to share information about Nate for this article.

I was first introduced to Nate when he was just three years old. I primarily worked with children on the autism spectrum. ​Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person. Characteristics of ASD fall into two categories.

The first category is social interaction and communication problems. In this category, the individual may have difficulties in normal back-and-forth conversation, reduced sharing of interests or emotions, challenges in understanding corresponding to social cues such as eye contact and facial expressions, deficits in developing/maintaining/understanding relationships (trouble making friends), and others.

The second category is restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests or activities. In this category, an individual may have the following: ​hand-flapping and toe-walking, playing with toys in an uncommon way (such as lining up cars or flipping objects), speaking in a unique way (such as using odd patterns or pitches in speaking or “scripting” from favorite shows), having significant need for a predictable routine or structure, exhibiting intense interests in activities that are uncommon for a similarly aged child, experiencing the sensory aspects of the world in an unusual or extreme way (such as indifference to pain/temperature, excessive smelling/touching of objects, fascination with lights and movement, being overwhelmed with loud noises, etc.), and others.

Nate had a difficult time with reciprocity, expressive communication, delayed language, and meaningful engaged play. My primary goals for him were to increase these deficit areas. When working with children at this age, the majority of my time with Nate was spent doing play therapy. I also tried to educate and provide Christe and Darrell with as much information as I possibly could. When you are a parent or even a family member faced with the challenges of ASD, it can be overwhelming and emotional. I wanted to give the Datko’s all the support I could possibly give to help alleviate the difficult time they were going through. They are wonderful people, very caring, and loving parents to Nate. I truly believe that Nate is where he is at today because of them.

After I left my job working as a BCS/MT, I tried to remain in contact with the Datko’s. As the years passed, I remember encountering Nate on the basketball court when he was in junior high. I’ll never forget the moment that I saw him and how well he had progressed over the years. I was officiating his basketball game. I remember tearing up and becoming emotional because of how far he had truly come. Here he was, this young man, playing a team sport, engaging and interacting with other players. This made my heart so happy. I was happy to see him be happy, enjoying what he was doing, smiling, laughing, and having fun.

It was an honor to work with Nate and his family. Christie spoke some very kind and generous words to me as we spoke on the phone, appreciative for all my help and support for Nate and their family. Well, it is the Datko’s that I would like to thank. I want to thank them for allowing me to be a part of their family and giving me the opportunity to work with Nate.

It was a true honor and blessing to be a part of Nate’s early development and I’m so proud of the young man he has become today. Nothing makes my heart happier than to see the success that Nate has had and will continue to have throughout his life.

(CSZ Note Bobbie is the All-Time scoring leader for Clarion Area Lady Cats Girls Basketball.)

Jim Harmon – Clarion Area Mathematics Teacher

I would love to say a few words about Nate.

Nate is a very hard worker and never gives up.  He would come in for some extra help in Geometry early in the morning before most kids were even out of bed.  It was because of this type of extra effort and hard work that helped Nate be successful, and will continue to be successful, in everything he does whether it be in the classroom, on an athletic field, or in his future career.  

I’m so proud of Nate and want to congratulate him on his accomplishments and his graduation and wish him the all the best in his future endeavors.

Defense was Nate’s favorite part of basketball.

Joel German – Coached Nate In Baseball And Basketball

To be honest, Nate’s autism was never a thought in my mind whenever I was his coach.  I never looked at him any differently than any other ball player.  I actually was taken back when his mother informed me. It was at Burger King in Brookville, after a baseball tournament.  She mentioned that he was sitting and talking to the other players by himself. At this stage in his life, this was a rather large step for him.  She was extremely proud of this.  Something most other parents take for granted.  It was a step in his development that showed that interaction in sports, on and off the field, would benefit him in so many ways.  It was a seed that was planted and obviously grew throughout his sports career and his academic accomplishments. 

It has been a pleasure watching him grow into the young man he is today and I wish him the best in whatever the future holds for him.     

Garrett Goheen – Nate’s Little League All-Star Baseball Coach

When we first started coaching Nate at age 8, his speed and arm strength stood out. What also stood out is that he wasn’t a player who wanted a lot of “decision making” responsibilities. 

For example, he liked to play catcher, but he didn’t like to call pitches. 

We coaches tried very hard to encourage Nate to try new positions, new spots in the batting order, taking different approaches while at bat, without overwhelming him with constant decision making. 

Nate became more open to different ideas with every year that he continued to play, but he never fully left his extremely literal way of thinking and playing the game. 

When Nate was in the outfield, I stressed to him to find the “lead runner” before the pitch. If you catch a fly ball, throw it one base ahead of the runner. If the batter gets a base hit, throw it two bases ahead of the runner. 

Nate’s literal thinking was made evident during a particular sectional game when he was ten. Nate was in right field with a runner on first base. The batter hit a blooper over the 2nd baseman’s head. The runner on first had to freeze to see if Nate was going to catch the ball. The ball hit at Nate’s feet. We could have got the runner out going to second by three steps, but Nate threw the ball to third (where there was no runner going) because I had coached him to throw the ball two bases ahead on a base hit. 

Later that night I was talking to his mother about the play. She was disgusted and called him “Concrete Nate”. 

Nate was again in right field two games later in the championship game. We were ahead by 2 runs, but Brookville had all the momentum. With a runner on second base and two outs,the batter hit a missle, one hopper to Nate. He played the hop cleanly and without hesitation, he threw an absolute strike to home plate nailing the runner from second to end the inning and our opponent’s rally. 

I have always called that play the single greatest play in Clarion Little League history. That is the play that put us into States for the first time in 15 years and began Clarion’s dominance through Section 1.

As Nate got older, he continued to like to have absolute specific instructions. As coaches, we had to always find ways to force him out of his comfort zone, without overwhelming him to a point of discouragement. 

Nate never liked to feel the pressure of the “big game” or “big moment”. He was always happier just playing the game like a school yard wiffle ball game. 

Nate made the KSAC All-Conference team as a junior. He no doubt would have had a very successful senior season as well. 

I think Nate’s success on the field is a real tribute to his willingness (at times lol) to step out of his comfort zone and grow as a player and a person.

I have no doubt that Nate Datko will be successful in whatever his next life endeavors may be. I hope Nate always treats all of life’s big events as school yard wiffle ball games.


(Congratulations to Nate, his family and all those who have helped this young man to achieve so many great things!!!! What a rich young man you are with all these friends!!!! And all the best to Nate as he continues his education at Clarion University of Pennsylvania!!!!)

Some of Nate’s Honors and Achievements:

Honor Roll or Principal’s List every marking period from 7th-12th grade, President’s Academic Award, member of the National Honor Society, Starting freshman on PIAA state championship baseball team 2107, KSAC first team outfielder 2019, TCS/CE 2nd team outfielder and honorable mention 2019.  (Numerous Bobcat baseball team awards in 2019 – Highest Slugging Percent, Most Hits (25) and Highest Batting Average (.417) Member of the 2016 and 2019  PIAA state qualifying cross country team, Bill Grove Cross Country dedication award 2019,  9th place overall (first in age group) at Greenway Trail Half Marathon, Ohio, (time: 1:33:11), Golden Eagle academic scholarship, John E. Brooks Scholarship.  Perfect attendance from ninth through twelfth grade.  Member of the Clarion Little League All Star team that participated in the state tournament three consecutive years (2012, 2013, 2014) as well as a member of the Titusville Senior League District Championship team in 2017.


Over 40 hours throughout high school -Including time with YMCA programs, Clarion Elementary PTO, and St. Joseph’s Church in Lucinda, PA.

Work:  Dishwasher at Wayside Inn for 3 years.

Nate at bat for the Cats

Nate’s Baseball stats:


Senior season canceled

Junior: .417 Average – 60 At Bats – 25 Hits – 9 RBIs – 16 Runs Scored

Sophomore: .190 Average – 42 At Bats – 8 Hits – 5 RBIs – 6 Runs Scored

Freshman: .283 Average – 60 At Bats – 17 Hits – 6 RBIs – 9 Runs Score

(Thanks to Kenn Staub and Clarion Area Baseball for Nate’s stats.)