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Perseverance Pays Off

Gregg Fox prepared for the ACT® test like many students: he took rigorous courses, participated in class and completed several practice tests to track areas where he needed to improve. The strategy paid off and Fox earned the top composite score of 36 in his first try during his junior year.

But before Fox could even think about preparing for the ACT, he had to re-learn how to speak and walk. In the first days of 8th grade, Fox was diagnosed with a brain tumor, underwent surgery and spent a month in the hospital recovering. When the tumor grew back later that year, he received radiation treatments. Fox said the recovery was the hardest part, but he had a plan.

"I just looked at the little attainable goals," said Fox. "I focused on what I could do and went from there."

That's still his philosophy and he attributes his success and an excellent prognosis to staying focused and setting goals that are within reach.

"You can do anything if you're realistic and determined to reach your goal," said Fox.

Keeping in mind what he could do, Fox literally had to change his game plan. Prior to his diagnosis, he was looking forward to playing football in high school, but it was not a possibility after his surgery. Instead, he chose to join the swimming and water polo teams, even though they weren't his first choice for extracurricular activities. However, both sports demonstrate Fox's endurance.

"Water polo is a very fast-paced game," said Fox. "If the referee blows a whistle, there's no pause."

Fox isn't letting up on his academics, either. Even though he earned his 36 score in his junior year, he'll continue taking advanced courses at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, as well as participating in school and community activities. He's even using his success story to benefit St. Louis Children's Hospital where he was treated.

Though undecided about where to study, he is leaning toward a major in engineering. Wherever he goes and whatever he decides to do, Fox will remain focused on what he can do.