BCS Advantage Magazine Summer 2016 - Page 28

Seeing is Believing Erwin High Senior Gains Vision and Perspective By Blake Morgan, Hillcrest Yearbook Editor, Class of 2016 & Stacia Harris, Assistant Director of Communications Jenna in biology class using her special equipment. “Never give up, no matter how hard it may seem.” necessary modification allowed her to perform at both at football games and in parades. Jenna with Dr. Michael E. Snyder, who performed her Iris surgery. This picture was the day after surgery. “It was fun and exciting to watch Jenna pursue her love of music,” says Sulzman. “She truly enjoyed the opportunity to make music with her classmates. While she did face physical challenges in band, her spirit to succeed was always there.” Legally blind since birth, it’s no exaggeration to say Jenna Cox sees life differently. For this Erwin High senior, it’s all about perspective. Ask her to summarize her life, she doesn’t Success isn’t limited to the musical arena. Jenna is also a Girl Scout and a black belt in karate. hesitate: “Fortunate”. Her classmates call her resilient; Jenna’s teachers call her fearless and outgoing. For 18 years, she’s overcome what many would consider to be monumental obstacles. For Jenna, though, it’s simply learning things differently and effectively forging her own path to success and happiness. Academically, she is assigned a high school case manager, Elaine Dixon, who regularly evaluates Jenna’s challenges at school and devises plans to help her succeed in the classroom. “Jenna is required to meet the same standards as other students and “whatever we need to One of the unique talents Jenna has is a superior do- is what we do,” Mrs. Dixon says. Jenna has ear for music. As a freshman, she chose Erwin special video equipment that enlarges an image High School, in part, because of its band program. of the board or her textbook so she can follow along with the day’s lesson. “When I saw the fine arts department here, that’s Unfortunately Jenna experienced a set-back as what drew me in,” she says her vision gradually got worse as her high school Jenna was in pit percussion and played a mean career continued. It had deteriorated so much tambourine. Erwin Band Director David Sulzman doctors feared she would become totally blind. accommodated her legal blindness by providing special large text copies of the music so Jenna Jenna’s junior year began with a series of cutting- could learn the routines. This simple, yet edge surgeries, and this year she participated in an 26