Our latest student of the week is 8th grader Josh Knapke from St. James School. Knapke earns mostly A’s and frequently finds himself on the school’s honor roll.
He has an added challenge on top of his schoolwork, type I diabetes, but Assistant Principal Jeffrey Fulmer says that doesn’t slow Josh down.
“Throughout my time teaching and getting to know Josh, I have never heard him complain about having diabetes, about having to give himself shots regularly, the constant blood tests, and maintaining the balance of eating and being active,” Fulmer says. “In fact, Josh is an incredibly positive kid with a smile usually planted across his face. Most of his classmates know that he has diabetes, but most have no idea of the daily struggles and inconveniences he has to go through. He doesn't seem to mind that he is different or worry about people thinking he is different.”
Josh has played on the St. James golf team for the past three years and during 7th grade he was named the Individual Champion for the Western Athletic Conference.
“Josh was nominated by his teachers to be a part of the 8th Grade Leadership Council,” Fulmer says. “This group consists of twenty students selected to help lead the school because of their leadership skills, organization, positive attitude, and school spirit. The group is responsible for planning school activities, promoting school events, and organizing service projects to help the community in various ways. He has done a great job as a part of this group so far this year.”
Josh also serves as an ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through the Ford Motor Company, where his dad is employed. Ford is a sponsor for JDRF and they raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for JDRF.
Josh visits the Ford plant and talks to some of the workers there to tell them what he goes through every day with his diabetes. It helps the workers understand the importance of their fundraising efforts.
Josh also talks at the annual golf outing for JDRF that Ford sponsors and thanks everyone for the donations and their participation in fundraising for JDRF. While he doesn't really enjoy getting up and talking to a large group of people, he understands how great it is that some people donate their money and don't even have a child or any connection to Type 1 Diabetes and how important it is to thank them.
Congratulations, Josh. You're our Student of the Week!