Welcome to our newest blog featuring Heaven Vallejos, the 2014 recipient of the Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship (DCYS)! Every year when the DCYS selection committee receives essays from applicants, we are always so impressed with the goals and experiences of each and every person. However, this year, when we received Heaven’s essay, there was no doubt in our minds that she was different, special and so deserving of the award.
For the next 11 months, Heaven will blog for us – sharing both the challenges and rewards of training for a triathlon and anything else that she wants to share with CTEBVI. We hope that you all will follow Heaven’s journey both individually and with your students. We would love to have other students respond to Heaven’s blogs in the comments section to create a community of not only educators and transcribers, but parents and students alike!
Lisa Okikawa, M.A.
Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Chairperson, Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship
My name is Heaven Vallejos. I am 10 years old, and I am totally blind. I was born that way. I have a mom, dad, two older brothers and a twin brother. My twin brother has some sight, but only out of one eye. I live in Fresno, CA.
This year I ran cross country track. Before this I only ran for fun. When I started cross country I ran into a fence once because I thought my coach said go right instead of left. I was OK though. I just had a little bruise on my elbow. The rest of the season was good. We ran on the sidewalk to get ice cream twice. Running is easy for me because I am used to it since I ran for fun before. In the spring, I will run track and field. I would like to do the long jump and run.
This summer I would like to be in a kids’ triathlon. I already know how to run and ride a tandem bike. My dad has a tandem bike that I have ridden before. I need to learn how to swim. Right now, when I get in a pool, I have to wear a lifejacket. I need to take swim lessons to be in the triathlon.
My Braille teacher told me that there was a scholarship for $1000.00, so I decided to sign up and ask for swim lessons. I think this scholarship is a good idea. I am very excited to sign up for the scholarship. I will send you a DVD of a documentary that I was in. I hope that I win the scholarship so that I can pay for my swim lessons.
Running, swimming and biking is exercising and exercising is good because it keeps me healthy. I feel good after I run. It helps me socially because I make friends. My teacher and I read some articles about exercise and I learned that exercise makes you live longer, makes you happy and it prevents your joints from getting painful. I think that exercising is a good thing for your heart, mind and spirit. Exercise is really exciting!
After reading this letter, I hope that you pick me for the scholarship so I can pay for swimming lessons and be in the triathlon.