Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 9, 2014

Western's Black perseveres

Panther senior overcame adversity to win Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award.

TERRE HAUTE — When Raven Black first learned the news that she’d have to move from Taylor schools to Western early in her junior year of school, she remembered feeling dejected.

She wasn’t even sure if she was going to continue to play basketball.

Luckily for Black, and the Panthers, she decided to give it a try. What transpired over the next two years, on an off the court with her teammates, left Black a changed person.

Saturday, she capped a state championship season by earning the IHSAA’s Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award for her accomplishments in the classroom and community.

“Obviously I love basketball so much, but it didn’t feel right to come here and play,” Black said. “Once I got here and met the girls, they were so loving. I feel like they’re my sisters and I’ve only known them for two years, but it feels like I’ve known them a lifetime. They picked me up anytime I was feeling down.”

The atmosphere created around Black at Western helped her continue to excel academically. She currently holds a 4.471 grade-point average while also participating in softball, National Honor Society, Western’s W Club and her church’s youth group. She also credited her faith for keeping her trudging forward as she started what felt like a new life at Western.

”The most important thing that doesn’t get shown a lot because we’re all going crazy is that a lot of my success just comes from having faith,” Black said. “When I have no one else to turn to, I know I can turn to God. I’m so proud to say I’m a christian.”

She plans to enter Indiana University’s Pre-Med program in the fall, and credited her parents, Richard Johnson and Vickie Dunker, for “ingraining” a strong work etchic into her as a child. It’s something she feels has carried her through her studies and success in basketball.

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