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Anthony Gannone, a sixth grader at Second Street School, recently won the Kentucky Yes I Can award in the category of academics. He was nominated by his teacher Tiffany Holt. (Photo by McKenna Horsley)

On his 11th birthday, Anthony Gannone was recognized at a Frankfort Independent Schools board meeting for winning a state award. 

Anthony, a sixth grader at Second Street School, recently won the Kentucky Yes I Can award in the category of academics. The Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children announced the state winners earlier this month. He is the son of Jason and Billie Gannone. 

Anthony said he didn’t know he was going to be recognized during the board meeting, so it was a big surprise. He ran up from the audience to receive a certificate from Principal Sam Sams. 

Second Street teacher Tiffany Holt said she nominated Anthony last school year for overcoming adversity in the classroom. She told the school board that the award encourages children with exceptionalities to achieve their highest potential. Holt was Anthony's special education teacher in previous years.

“I kind of look up to her as a mentor,” added Anthony, who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when he was 8 or 9 years old and faces challenges every day. For him, that means he sometimes fidgets in his seat, can be agitated easily or distracted by noises. He wears noise-canceling headphones to alleviate it. 

“I just put them on and it decreases the sound level of everything,” he said. 

As far as school goes, Anthony's favorite subject is science because it involves combining chemicals to make new ones, which he finds interesting. He also reads frequently, as it helps him relieve stress. Right now, his favorite book series is “Wings of Fire” by Tui T. Sutherland.

As part of winning the Yes I Can award, Anthony was invited to the Kentucky’s Exceptional Children’s conference in November. During that conference, he will learn whether he will move on to the national group of honors awarded by the national Council on Exceptional Children. The Yes I Can award has been recognizing children with exceptionalities who have demonstrated their determination and achievements in multiple ways for more than 35 years. 

Anthony said he is “definitely going for nationals." 

“If I win the nationals, I’m going to be so excited, I’m probably going to wack out,” he said. 

The FIS board recognized Anthony among other SSS students during its Monday night meeting at the school.

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