'Helped me become a man' Family tragedies motivate Elsik HS football player to set example for siblings

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Adversity makes student stronger on and off the field.

For Elsik junior defensive end Nicholas Lerch, family tragedies have taught him to grow up quickly and become the man of the house at an early age.

Nicholas' mother had an aneurysm giving birth to his youngest brother two years ago, which has left her partially paralyzed and has changed the way he looks at things.

"Two years ago, I never thought I would have half of my mom. It has helped me mature to become a man and how to care for a family," said Nicholas.

Nicholas' work ethic goes above and beyond on the football field and in the classroom, which makes him a role model to everyone on the team.

"Just to see him everyday, do the things that he does, I'm sure it is a special thing for him. And it gives other kids an opportunity to see adversity and a kid working every day no matter what," said head football coach Aric Sardinea.

When things get tough and Nicholas feels like he wants to quit, he knows that he cannot let his mother down and needs to be an example for his younger siblings.

"That is the type of mentality that I have, that I am going to be successful in my life. I can probably pave the way for them, and you know, how they can get into college and things like that. I want them to see me finish high school and maybe one day they can get their diploma and live their life successfully, too," said Nicholas.
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