Nico Marinello, a senior at Madison High School, has contended with a rare early-onset health disorder. While he could have opted to unenroll from high school and complete his academic courses online, he did not choose the path of least resistance.

In this New Jersey School Boards Association video, Sarah Mazak, a guidance counselor at the school, highlights Marinello’s determination, work ethic and his “heart of pure goodness.”

Mazak notes in the video that Marinello is a “gentle soul” who has exhibited an ability to endure and thrive in the face of tremendous personal challenges. She adds that he has left an indelible mark on her heart – and on the hearts of everyone who knows him.

Despite the obstacles he’s had to overcome, Marinello has thrived in school and shown grit on the baseball field. “His heart of gold and compassion for others runs deep,” Mazak said.

Watch the video.