Fulton Homes Names Phoenix Student This Weeks “Be Kool, Stay in School” Winner

Rachel Torne Triumphs Academically Despite A Long Battle with Scoliosis and Bullying.

Fulton Homes has chosen Rachel Torne from Mesquite Junior High School in Gilbert, AZ as this week’s student nominee for the Fulton Homes Be KOOL, Stay in School initiative. Torne was honored as the week’s winner on KOOL FM on Friday morning, May 13, 2011. Be KOOL, Stay in School is an educational partnership that offers weekly recognition and prizes to junior high school students who have overcome an extreme obstacle or difficulty. The program culminates in June of 2011 with $4,000 scholarships awarded to three deserving students. Fulton Homes and KOOL FM have teamed up again for the sixth time for their dynamic Be KOOL, Stay in School initiative.

Rachel Torne, an eighth grade student at Mesquite Junior High School, was nominated by her mother, Mary Anne Torne, for overcoming tremendous struggles in her personal life, while still achieving straight A grades in her Honors program at school. At age eight, Rachel was diagnosed with Scoliosis. She had to undergo continuous doctors’ appointments, tests and not to mention tremendous pain and forced to wear Back Brace 20 hours a day, seven days a week, for almost three years. Rachel was teased constantly in school and her brace was even stolen by bullies during gym class on a continual basis.

“As a mother, it would break my heart watching what Rachel was going through,” said Mary Anna Torne. “Rachel never complained, no matter how much pain she endured.”

After three years, Rachel showed minimal progress. The pain was so severe at times, she could hardly stand. In the spring of 2010, Rachel and her family decided to pursue Spinal Fusion, a surgery that corrects Scoliosis and straightens the spine. The procedure is considered invasive,painful, and would take a full year to heal.

“She wanted the surgery so she could finally be a normal kid” added Torne. “The doctors explained how painful this process would be, but Rachel didn’t care. She wanted a normal life, and was determined to go through with the surgery.”

On December 17, 2010, Rachel underwent Spinal Fusion. She is still in recovery, but shows progress every day. With all the adversity that has come her way, Rachel has managed to maintain straight A’s in school. Throughout the years, she has never complained, even in the most trying times.

“Rachel is a determined student who has overcome great physical hardship while still upholding a positive, honorable defiance,” remarked Douglas Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes. “If she continues to stay focused throughout her academic career, who knows what great merits she will achieve. We are proud to recognize Rachel as this weeks Be KOOl, Stay in School winner.”

The Fulton Homes Be KOOL, Stay in School program recognizes students throughout the academic year who are currently enrolled in sixth, seventh or eighth grade and who have overcome tremendous challenges. Valley residents can nominate junior high students from various Maricopa County public, private and charter schools by submitting a form online at www.koolradio.com, describing the student’s triumph against extreme odds. These selected weekly winners will then be qualified to win one of three $4,000 scholarships. At the end of the school year, all qualifying students and their parents/guest will be invited to attend a dinner banquet where the winners of the scholarships will be announced.

The Fulton Homes Be KOOL, Stay in School program will accept nominations during the 2010-2011 school year, choosing 36 weekly winners who will receive a backpack full of prizes and on-air recognition from KOOL personalities Tom and Maria. Then, all 36 students chosen will be eligible for one of three $4,000 college scholarships, awarded in June 2011. The weekly winners will be evaluated by a board of judges consisting of co-sponsors Fulton Homes and KOOL FM, along with representatives from local schools. For more information go to www.fultonhomes.com, click on Fulton Foundation and click Youth Education, or visit www.koolradio.com.