McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

September 30, 2013

VIDEO: Norman High honors student with contest entry

NORMAN — Jake Pyle was told he wouldn’t live past age 5, then age 7, 8, 9, and 11. Yet every time an end date was put on his life, Jake would surpass expectations and prove that with a positive attitude he could beat the odds.

Now a senior at Norman High School, doctors have stopped putting a date on his life and fellow Norman High students are recognizing what an inspiration Jake is to the school and others suffering from a chronic disease.

Pyle lives with Type II Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which causes the deterioration of his muscles. Today, Pyle is confined to a wheelchair, but is active in the Oklahoma Youth Leadership Forum, plays guitar and maintains goals like going to college at the University of Oklahoma.

Such determination to brush one’s self off and “roar” in the face of adversity, is a rare quality, but one that Norman High students believe Pyle exemplifies. Norman High School StuCo decided to honor Pyle with an entry for the Katy Perry and Good Morning America’s contest — Roar with Katy Perry.

Dawn Brockman, student congress advisor, said she has known Pyle since he was a freshman and that he embodies the lyrics of “Roar.” Hannah Connery, StuCo president, agrees with Brockman and said when StuCo decided to enter the contest, they couldn’t think of a better story than Pyle’s journey and how he represents the school.

When asked how Pyle, traditionally a rock fan, felt about having his life story told to a pop song, he said, “The words speak to who I am.”

To enter the Roar with Katy Perry contest, Norman High students will submit a 2 minute video of their school’s version of Katy Perry’s song “Roar.” If selected as winners of the contest, Katy Perry will come to Norman High and perform.

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