Student Triumphs over Adversity

Most of us at some point in time have faced adversity in our lives. However, few of us have or will experience the potential life changing effects of a stroke as a teen.

Grayson Pietrantozzi (12th grade) is a strong young man not only physically but also mentally. In January 2016, we shared with the WCA family what first appeared to be devastating news for Grayson. During a wrestling practice at Wesleyan, he collapsed on the mat from what was later diagnosed as a stroke. Grayson initially had to have open-heart surgery to remove the tumor that caused the stroke.  After recovering from surgery, believing that all was well, Grayson prepared to return to the wrestling mat. This past summer, he began having pain in his right leg, which required a second surgery to remove another tumor. Through all this, Grayson learned that the Lord is not through with him, which was the catalyst to help him persevere. According to the sports website,, being successful on the wrestling mat is 95% mental and only 5% physical.  Grayson has also taken hold of this motto for life itself.

In a recent interview with The High Point Enterprise, the question was asked of Grayson what advice he would give other young people who face adversity in their lives. Grayson did not hesitate with his response as he quickly said, “I would say never give up.” What gives this young man such courage and determination?  After Grayson’s collapse in practice, two days later the team competed in a tournament at WCA. Knowing the support he had from his teammates was paramount in helping him to keep a strong mind and attitude. Even more than this, Scripture such as II Timothy 1:7 strengthened his faith as it states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Knowing his teammates were wearing this Scripture on their arms as a temporary tattoo during the tournament only bolstered his faith.

After Grayson’s second surgery, he was able to wrestle again and helped the team end the season successfully. In the interview, wrestling coach, Phillip Merritt said that it was the first time in the team’s history that they “outscored everybody else in the state from 184lbs to HWT, which are the upper weights.  Every one of our guys placed and Grayson is a big part of that, his story, his working through adversity.”  The team finished second place in the state tournament.

We are thrilled that the Lord has brought healing to Grayson’s body and that he knows his help comes from the Lord.  After graduation in May, Grayson plans to join the Marines and later in his life, he would love to help others by serving as a therapist to people who have experienced trauma.  Whatever path he chooses, we expect him to do great things for this world as he shares with others the hope he found in the midst of his own adversity.

To read the article about Grayson that was recently published in The High Point Enterprise, please click here.