By Whitney Metz –
The Virginia High School League hosted its 33rd Annual Achievement Award Luncheon Monday, May 23, in Charlottesville, Va. During the luncheon, Nandua senior Chayce Wayman was honored as the 22nd recipient of the William Andrew Mullins Courageous Achievement Award.
This award was created in remembrance of Andrew Mullins, an active member in VHSL functions who was diagnosed with cancer in 1995 and lost his battle in 2000. Mullins remained involved in VHSL activities despite his inability to compete after his diagnosis. The VHSL continues to honor Mullins as an outstanding young man and inspiration with the Courageous Achievement Award.
Wayman was selected as the 2022 recipient after displaying a high level of resiliency in the classroom, on the playing field, and in the community. Wayman had the opportunity to speak about his experience during the award luncheon on Monday. At age one, he was diagnosed with profound hearing loss as an infant and received a cochlear hearing implant.
In his speech, Wayman reminisced about his childhood, explaining that there was never a time he was without a football. “By middle school I could remember football statistics better than anyone else,” he said. “But the challenges began as I started high school.”
The audiologist and doctors discouraged his participation in contact sports as it was too dangerous with his implant. At first, Wayman complied as he watched his peers compete during freshman year. He dabbled in golf, wrestling, and baseball as a freshman, where he experienced one of his first memorable high school moments.
Wayman stated that he had to wrestle with no sound, meaning the coaches were unable to speak to him during the match and he was unable to hear the referees’ whistles. It became important for him to watch film after matches and hear everyone cheer for him. “The support was amazing,” Wayman said. “But I never had the opportunity to experience that on the mat.”
In Wayman’s sophomore year, after asking multiple doctors and getting approval from his parents, he suited up for his first football game. He was not just any player on the field in his first year. He became the starting quarterback for Nandua’s junior varsity team. His junior year was canceled due to COVID-19, but he took the field again in the fall of 2021 for his senior season. During his senior season, he was selected as First Team All-District Quarterback and represented Nandua High School in the Eastern Shore Senior All-Star Bowl.
Wayman reminisced again about the memories of that season, highlighting a critical touchdown against Arcadia. “I remember seeing a defender coming at me, so I threw the ball to my teammate Brandon Smith just as I was being hit,” he said. “I felt joy as I hit the ground because I could hear everyone cheering. That was a good thing.”
Wayman concluded his speech by thanking his teachers, individual education plan team, friends, family, and coaches for the support throughout his career. He mentioned the importance of having people who encouraged him and helped him by doing things like creating hand signals for the offense in football and cheering him on in wrestling even when he couldn’t hear them.
These were just a few of the moments where Wayman has shown extreme resilience during his high school career. His achievement did not stop on the playing field. Wayman participated in multiple church activities throughout high school and volunteered his time at local Little Leagues both coaching and umpiring.
His deaf specialist teacher, Dana Wright, said, “Due to his hearing impairment, he has had to overcome incredible odds in school and sports.Chayce is an incredible student who has worked hard to overcome many obstacles. He has made significant contributions both in the classroom and on the playing field.”
The state of Virginia is the home of 96,000 seniors in the class of 2022. Only one student athlete has the honor to be selected for the Courageous Achievement Award. The Eastern Shore has only received one other achievement award from the VHSL, 26 years ago. Nandua High School has never had a student honored through the VHSL. Wayman defied all odds by competing in four sports during his high school career while simultaneously maintaining honor roll and volunteering in the community, showing everyone he has a courageous spirit.