Ayala is a Top 15 finalist in the country in U.S. Cellular's "Most Valuable Coach" contest, and was presented with a $5,000 check. Students and faculty cheered and teared up while Ayala was given the award, which can raise as much as $50,000 for the community should he win in the next round of the contest. Lewiston's Mike McGraw and Mt. Abrams' James Danala are also finalists.
Ayala noted his mentality towards life and his optimism have helped him reach this point.
"Being grateful for what you have," he said after the assembly. "We talk about the kids, that cup. Is it half empty or half full? And if it's half empty you can be negative about a situation, or you can be positive about it and enjoy what you have. And if it's not what you want it to be, well make it happen."
Those who wish to vote can participate here.