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Lilly Melton shows her classmates and her teachers what perseverance and courage look like.

Lilly, the daughter of Jamey and Lisa Melton and a student at Liberty Elementary School in Liberty, loves to dance and she doesn’t let anything slow her down.

“Lilly has been a fighter since day 1,” Lisa Melton said. “She was 8 months old and had open heart surgery. She woke up from that fighting.”

That determined spirit has served her well as she faces a hearing deficit and was recently diagnosed with alopecia, an immune condition that causes hair loss. She has so inspired her classmates that they all recently wore hats to school in her honor. The gesture meant a great deal to her.

“It helped me a lot,” she said.

Lilly is in her fourth year as a member of a clogging competition team and her eighth year in dance. She is also a member of her school’s archery club and she loves art.

“I want to be a dance teacher and an artist, but I can’t figure out which one I do best,” she said.

Lilly’s sweet nature impacts those around her.

“Anybody that she gets to know, they get a hug,” Lisa Melton said. “She worries about everybody else. She wants to be friends with everybody. She doesn’t give up.”

Nomination excerpt

“Lilly is a fifth-grade student who suffers from hearing deficit and recently alopecia. Since the first day of school, her hair has continued to thin, but by February she is almost entirely bald. Nevertheless, Lilly perseveres and has stayed committed to her academics, taken the hard knocks of life, and simply doesn't let them hold her back or make any excuses. I watched her at our Family Skate Night and she fell down about seven times, and each time I watched her get back up again and burst into a big smile as she rounded the corners of the rink. I want to be like Lilly — this courageous 10 year old who never gives up. She gives no excuses, and continues to be kind to others and brave day in and day out. I want to recognize her for her bravery and perseverance. She is what helps me come to work each day.”

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