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Class act / An outstanding young Western New Yorker

Eighth-grader Russell Braun was recognized recently by the Amherst Youth Basketball League for his determination. His coach, Bob Nusall, called him a "very hard-working player."

The 13-year-old pupil at Amherst Middle School is an honor roll student who serves as vice president of his class. Besides basketball, Russell enjoys volleyball and baseball. He's a viola player as well.

During his summer breaks, he attends Pathfinder Camp for a dozen days in Algonquin Provincial Park, where he carries everything on his back while camping, canoeing and hiking. He is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Russell was born without the femur in his right leg and uses a prosthesis, which he wears "during the day to help me walk and leave it off at night while I'm asleep," he said.

"It helps me do everything I want to do, from climbing stairs to playing sports to riding a bike."

He studies history and would like to get into politics when he's older.

"Politics is a field where you can really make a difference in people's lives by just doing your job," he said.

"If you want to do something, you need to set your mind to it, even if it seems like you're not the best. If you give it everything you have, sometimes you'll be surprised at what you can achieve."

Know a young outstanding Western New Yorker? Tell us about your nomination, including date of birth and address, for possible publication in Class act. Sorry, photos cannot be returned. E-mail, or write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240.

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