RENTON, Wash. – The WIAA Executive Board and staff was proud to honor Jonathan Kinley with the 2020 Jace Malek Award, Saturday.
Given at the discretion of the WIAA Board president, the award honors the memory of former West Valley High School (Spokane) student athlete Jace Malek, who lost his life to cancer while a student at the University of Idaho. Known for his strong, positive attitude and work ethic, Malek's high energy and spirit influenced fellow students and teammates throughout his short life. Students selected for this award should be known for their actions that reinforce healthy culture, a strong, fair, competitive spirit, and an infectious love of life. These actions should include but not be limited to someone who:
1. Embraces the values of teamwork and fair competition
2. Reaches out to help others whether in the competitive arena or in everyday life
3. Is supported by the school administration and coaches/advisors
4. May have overcome personal or environmental challenges
Jonathan Kinley was born in Guatemala in 2002. The first 8 weeks of his life were spent at the hands of human traffickers until he was rescued by police and placed in the care of an orphanage many miles from his birthplace. This orphanage, his first home, was his world. He was raised there by people who fed and cared for him and he was educated at the school on the orphanage property. This place was home to up to 500 children, many with the same first names. He was given the nickname "JonJon" as a way to identify him from other boys named Jon. Although it was obvious to anyone that met JonJon, that he was one of a kind. JonJon was born with Spina Bifida which caused scoliosis in his spine, he also struggles with muscular difficulties.
At 8 years old, his parents, Todd and Jamie were finally able to bring JonJon home to Colfax. They fell in love with JonJon during one of their many church mission trips to the orphanage and by no coincidence, they would become family. The adoption process took 3 and a half years. During this time the curvature of his spine seemed to worsen at an accelerated pace and the clock seemed to stand still for his parents as they waited for the adoption process to be complete.
Once JonJon arrived in Colfax, he quickly became a huge part of the community, a community that embraced and supported him as he would undergo a considerable amount of medical treatment. In an effort to stop the curving of his spine, he endured painful casts, 8 months of separate spinal tractions, three major spine surgeries and 2 other exploratory surgeries. The last surgery fused 90% of his spine anchoring it to his pelvis. During the grueling recovery process of one of his early spinal surgeries, JonJon told his parents that he just wanted to be able to run like other kids someday.
JonJon has persevered through many trials, showing us what it means have joy in the midst of struggle. He doesn't let his physical challenges stop him from being involved, he has never felt sorry for himself and he doesn't put limits on himself, he just works harder. He is a light to his community, including the basketball and track and field teams. In 2019, JonJon was a state champion in the WIAA 2B ambulatory 200m dash and the Discus, and placed 2nd in the 100m dash. JonJon also helped lead the Colfax Boys Track team to win the Boys 1A, 2B, 1B Team Ambulatory Championship in 2019. Another example of JonJon's competitive spirit and work ethic is shown as he loves to compete in the 1600m race, even though it is not an ambulatory event. JonJon also plays on the Colfax JV and C squad basketball team.
JonJon brings a true love to the arena of sport, track, court and classroom, spreading his infectious love of life to others just like Jace Malek did. JonJon's school administration, coaches, and teachers have much to say about the positive affect he has on his peers and the culture of Colfax school district as he is a leader in the classroom with a 3.87 GPA, has been involved in FCCLA, Jazz Band, even a frequent guest speaker at Gonzaga University, encouraging future teachers. Administrators and coaches at other schools also have also noticed JonJon and how he has helped encourage teamwork and the joy of competition among his peers. He always seems to have a cheering section from other district 7 schools, this is a reflection of how his life has inspired others. JonJon's future goals include being a history teacher or working in the scientific engineering fields.