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Clifford Frederick: One Step at a Time

Mr. Frederick looks out to the crowd during the LUCK week pep-rally.

Conner Riley

Mr. Frederick looks out to the crowd during the LUCK week pep-rally.

An incurable disease did not mean a lower quality of life for math teacher Clifford Frederick. He did not let it define him as a child, and he refuses to let it define him now as a teacher.

“[It is easy to be positive] when it’s my second nature,“ Mr. Frederick said. “If it wasn’t for my pleasing spirit and my smile, both my parents said growing up the family probably wouldn’t have survived as well as it did.”

Doctors diagnosed Mr. Frederick with Muscular Dystrophy in first grade, but with a second opinion, the doctors decided he had an unknown form of Muscular Dystrophy. Mr. Frederick saw the worst of his disease in the fourth grade when he was not able to walk very far, but had become considerably stronger in his twenties and thirties.

“I have never been as strong as the average person my age,” Mr. Frederick said.

Mr. Frederick tires when walking, but uses the elevator to help. During his class he keeps momentum when he lectures and sits when needed during Geometry and Algebra 2. The school helped Mr. Frederick by giving him a better chair and a cart for his belongings. StuCo decided to support him during the 2019 LUCK week in February.

“I’ve always looked at what it is I can do versus what it is I can’t do, and try to find a way around doing what it is I can’t do,” Mr. Frederick said.

When Dr. Butler interviewed Mr. Frederick for a teaching position, she saw something in him that stood out. He was an extremely happy person with a lot of energy.

“He is very positive, has an outgoing personality, and I thought that he would be great for students because they need someone like him,” Dr. Butler said.

Mr. Frederick keeps a positive attitude and works hard towards his goals. Mr. Frederick swam on his high school swim team, and even though he came in last almost every meet it did not stop him. He lettered in JV swim and his junior year he had the pleasure to beat one person in the 500 meter crawl race.

I’ve always looked at what it is I can do versus what it is I can’t do, and try to find a way around doing what it is I can’t do”

— Mr. Frederick

“I was very fortunate in high school to be on the High School Swim Team even though I was the slowest person and I always came in last,” Mr. Frederick said. “When I was on the relays I was fortunate that my teammates understood what was going on and even though we still came in last, they weren’t upset.”

Mr. Frederick does not let his limitations hold him back from doing the things he loves. He enjoys traveling and has been to Africa, as well as 35 of the 50 U.S. states. He also enjoys candle making, reading, and math.

“I think that’s why I like math and logic problems, I like to stick with it and find other ways of doing it besides the traditional way,” Mr. Frederick said.

 

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