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February 19, 2003

Deaf player makes impact for Whiteville

From: Wilmington Morning Star, NC - 19 Feb 2003

By Lee Wagner
Star-News Correspondent
Whiteville senior Candace Soles actually has an advantage when she steps to the foul line, and the opposing team?s cheerleaders and fans are screaming for her to miss ? what could be ? critical foul shots.

Soles can?t hear them.

Soles is hearing impaired, having lost her hearing due to a high fever when she was 2 years old. But that hasn?t stopped this dynamic young lady from doing things other teenagers do.

Soles is a member of the Wolfpack girls? basketball team, a member of the modern dance team, performs on the stage with the theater arts group, and is probably going to vie for a spot on the softball team in the spring.

"Candace has come in here at Whiteville and blossomed with us the last couple of years," assistant principal and athletics director Rob Conway said. "She has gotten into sports and other things, and it has provided her with an avenue to express herself. She has done real good in everything she has done."

Soles attends regular classes at Whiteville and carries a "B" average. She is accompanied to her classes by Kathy Wilkes, a facilitator of communication at Whiteville. Wilkes is a certified American Sign Language interpreter for the hearing impaired.

Wilkes also attends basketball practices and games, as well as the other activities in which Soles participates.

"Candace is an ambassador for the hearing impaired, and she has become a role model for other hearing impaired students," Wilkes said. "She has had a lot of obstacles to deal with, and she has jumped over tremendous hurdles in her life."

Wilkes says Soles uses her visual skills in dance ? closely watching instructor Leigh Williams, then she mirrors what she has watched and learned.

In the theater arts group, Soles used sign language and body language to show the emotions of her character.

"Candace has a lot of confidence, and she has been given a lot of opportunities to shine," Wilkes said. "She is receptive as a student, and the teachers have been receptive to her.

"She has been a success story for main streaming. Everyone here has been very supportive in giving her the opportunity to live in a hearing world."

© 2003 Wilmington Morning Star