In a testament to resilience and the unyielding spirit of the human will, Carrollton High School student Jack Lenaeus has found a unique way to experience the excitement of sports despite facing the challenge of blindness.
Jack has been avidly tuning in to the Trojan Nation Network and using audio to immerse himself into the thrill of high school sports.
“TNN has enabled me to listen to many CHS sporting events, something I was unable to do before,” said Jack.
TNN features weekly podcasts with teachers, students, administrators, and coaches with the goal of keeping the community informed about things happening on campus. In addition to the podcasts, TNN provides audio broadcast coverage for all Trojan football games and select broadcasts for all other Trojan teams.
Jack lost most of his eyesight when he was four months old due to a severe case of retinopathy of prematurity that did not respond to surgical treatment. He has had over a dozen eye surgeries since he was born at 25 weeks gestational age.
“Jack has never met a stranger and loves talking about sports and weather with friends wherever he goes,” said Laura Lenaeus, Jack’s mother. “He enjoys being part of the morning broadcast team as the weather reporter and singing in CHS chorus productions.”
Last week, Jack had the opportunity to be a special guest host on the TNN broadcast.
“I really enjoyed being on TNN,” said Jack. “I have wanted to be on a broadcast since I started listening last fall."
Jack’s mother said though he has faced many challenges in his life, he’s worked hard to overcome them.
“Jack has faced many hurdles along the way physically, medically and academically,” said Lenaeus. “He has worked incredibly hard to meet these challenges and continues to find solutions and adaptations that allow him to get the most out of life, and he does it with a level of energy and enthusiasm that is unmatched.”
Matt Skinner, TNN host, said he was happy to learn that Jack listens to the broadcasts.
“It’s awesome to see how the network has enhanced his experience with sports in ways he couldn't access before."
In a world so often dominated by visual stimuli, Jack's story shows how determination and innovation can lead to inclusion. It's not only a personal triumph but also a reminder of the need for accessible avenues, ensuring every student can connect with their school community.
TNN has seen success in its inaugural year with more than 1,600 app downloads between Apple and Google Play. There are currently 28 podcast episodes and 30 live broadcasts that have been produced.
Eight Carrollton High School students competed in the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association state competition Saturday and brought home the championship trophy, marking the fourth consecutive state championship for the program.
CHS debate coach Richard Bracknell emphasized to his team that great achievements begin with a journey and encouraged them not to overlook the joy of the process.
“The message I have given these students is that hard work and preparation are absolutely necessary if one intends on being successful — however, a debate round or tournament doesn’t define who they are,” said Bracknell. “I’m so proud of them and thankful for the ride.”
Bracknell is well-acquainted with securing victories in debate championships. The program has the second-most state championships in the school’s history, only exceeded by boys track. Saturday’s victory marks the 14th state championship title for the CHS debate team.
CHS debate assistant coach Lyndsey Oliver said she’s proud of what the team accomplished this year.
The group of students who represented CHS at the state championship have worked tirelessly in pursuit of a fourth consecutive state title,” said Oliver. “We're proud of what they accomplished — four consecutive state titles is incredible — but truly, I'm more proud of the work ethic, willingness to learn, and integrity that they demonstrate every day, whether that's in a championship round or their classes at school.”
Principal Ian Lyle said he is proud of the team’s accomplishment.
"Their achievements were a result of perseverance, intelligence, and an exceptional competitive spirit," remarked Lyle. "I am proud of all of them and am grateful for the guidance given by Coach Bracknell and Coach Oliver, which will undoubtedly shape these students not only in debate but also in life."
CHS DEBATE’S HISTORICAL RECORD: Carrollton’s debate program not only shines in the academic world, but also stands out among all competitive entities at CHS, boasting the second highest number of state championships earned in the school’s history, surpassed only by boys track. The team has been crowned state champion 14 times – in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2018, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. The team was the state runner-up champion seven times – in 1986, 1990, 1991, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. The team also has captured numerous region titles and tournament wins.
For the sixth year in a row, Carrollton High School has won the Congressional App Challenge. The program, spearheaded by the U.S. House of Representatives, aims to inspire middle and high school students to delve into coding and contemplate future paths in computer science.
The Congressional App Challenge involves Members of Congress organizing contests in their respective districts for middle and high school students.
The initiative encourages students to delve into coding and to consider careers in computer science. Every participating Member of Congress chooses a winning app from their district, and the winning teams are invited to present their apps to Congress at the annual #HouseOfCode festival. This program is a collaboration between the public and private sectors, facilitated by contributions from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and other supporters.
Representing CHS was senior Joseph Ivey and sophomore Omar DeJesus, who collaborated to develop an app called DA — a valuable resource for individuals affected by domestic abuse. Their app won the district competition supported by Rep. A. Drew Ferguson within Georgia's Third District.
“It was awesome to be selected as the winner,” said Omar. “I’ve enjoyed learning about computer science, but now I think it could be my career path.”
Joseph added, “Making apps that help the community is a game changer. We hope to publish this app and allow it to help those it was intended for.”
According to CHS computer science teacher Robby Blakemore, the Congressional App Challenge is the most prestigious prize a computer science student can receive.
“The Congressional App Challenge allows students to create meaningful apps and showcase them to a wider audience,” said Blakemore. “Encouraging students to solve community problems will make our community even stronger.”
Blakemore said other CHS teams have created apps that are free to download. To get started, search TrojanCSApps on the App Store or Trojan CS Apps on Google Play.
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