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July 13, 2004

Deaf Student Rises Above Adversity

From: KPVI-TV, ID - Jul 13, 2004

As if being a teenager isn't hard enough, a local high school student was handed special circumstances early in life that added to the difficulties we all face every day. Joni Newbold talked with this determined girl who rises above.

Kyleigh Vestal will be a senior at Century High School this year. She has big dreams and big goals. But unlike most teenagers, Kyleigh is deaf. Kyleigh had a hearing impairment from the time she was two and was assisted by the use of hearing aids until when she was 12 years old.

Kyleigh Vestal:

"I just woke up and I figured that it was my hearing aid that wasn't working, so we changed the batteries and then we realized that the batteries weren't the problem. Then we figured it was something inside the hearing aids and they found out it wasn't... It was me. So they never really found out why. It took me a really long time to figure it out and believe it was me instead of my hearing aids."

It was a setback for a while, but Kyleigh got older and finally decided that she couldn't get away from the social part of life, and her inability to hear was never an issue again. Recently, she attended Girl's State in Boise and was selected first alternate to Girl's Nation. She is also on Century's varsity debate team, where Kyleigh is believed to be the only deaf debater in the nation. Her mother is extremely proud of her accomplishments.

Susie Stricker:

"I am extremely proud of her, and I'm extremely proud because she has accomplished these accomplishments on her own. I mean, she's very focused, she's very goal-oriented, and she's delightful, and she's going to get where she wants to go because she's strong and independent and she's quite determined."

Determined to get the best of everything, Kyleigh is getting ready to apply to universities and she is ready to play with the big dogs.

Kyleigh Vestal:

"We're looking at East coast schools because I'm tired of small towns. So we've been looking at Boston University, New York University, some Ivy League schools if I can get in."

Kyleigh has wanted to be an attorney since she was six years old and that is what she intends to study in college.

©Copyright 2004 Oregon Trail Broadcasting KPVI