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Student’s Personal Quest Before Losing Sight Leads to School First

Le Yi Deng is a Grade 12 student at the British Columbia Provincial School for the Deaf in Burnaby. She first came to BCSD in Grade 3. When she introduced herself she said, “Hi, I’m Le Yi. I’m Deaf, and I’m really scared of becoming blind.”

Le Yi has Usher’s Syndrome, a condition associated with progressive hearing and vision loss. She’s been slowly losing her sight. Le Yi declared at the beginning of this school year that she wanted to maximize her experiences with eyesight, “as much as she could,” before it worsens.

With that objective front of mind, she began by joining the Cross-country Team in the fall. That was followed by the Wrestling Team, then the Senior Basketball Team, and finally the Track and Field Team this spring. Le Yi also led the BCSD Sun Run Team and was a member of the afterschool Dance Club.

BCSD and adjoining Burnaby South Secondary held their joint graduation ceremony at the end of May, where student awards were announced. In addition to graduating with honours, Le Yi learned at the ceremony that her personal quest had evolved into making school history: she became the first BCSD student to earn Female Athlete of the Year at Burnaby South (this year’s title was shared with co-winner Stephanie Zaborniak).

Le Yi is thankful to the Burnaby South and BCSD community – the Principals, Athletic Director, teachers, teammates, volunteer coaches and parents – who embraced their philosophy of inclusion, and lived the motto: We Are One.

So what’s next on the list of what to accomplish for Le Yi? She’s been accepted into a University transfer program and hopes to one day become a lawyer.

Read the Burnaby Now story.