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Grad bests disabilities
Student unstoppable after hearing restoredBy Brenda Bernet
Cara Johnson overcame disabilities in her hearing and vision to sing in the varsity choir at Caprock High School, take advanced classes and learn fencing.
The 18-year-old senior will graduate from Caprock May 30.
Johnson plans to attend West Texas A&M University for two years and then go to the University of Houston. She plans to obtain a master's degree and become an occupational therapist.
"I wanted to help other people deal with their disabilities and overcome their disabilities," Johnson said.
Johnson was born with moderate to severe deafness and is legally blind in one eye, her mother, Carrie Johnson, said. Carrie discovered her daughter had a hearing problem when she started day care at age 3.
"She couldn't talk like all the other kids," Carrie said. "It was like the volume was turned down."
Cara's hearing was affected by fusion of the bones in her ears, so hearing aids helped her, her mother said.
Cara's young peers were rather curious about the devices in her ears and would often ask questions, her aunt, Crissie Wisdom, said. Cara told them matter of factly that she needed them to hear.
"There was too much going on to miss anything," Cara said.
Cara went through the Regional Education Program for the Deaf through the seventh grade, when she had surgery to correct her hearing. The surgery meant she no longer needed hearing aids.
"I could just wake up in the morning and know what was going on," Cara said. "I can swim, and I could hear."
Cara said the education program for the deaf helped her with reading and provided interpreters, but once she could hear, she did what others said she would not. She exited the program and will go to college without the need of an interpreter, she said.
After she withdrew from the education program for the deaf in middle school, Cara began taking advanced classes.
"She just took off," her mother said.
High school gave Cara the opportunity to learn about subjects that interested her, she said.
"I enjoy learning new things," she said.
Cara enjoyed music, so she joined the choir and spent all four years at the varsity level.
"I had to learn to hear pitch and sing right," Cara said.
Cara enjoyed going the choir trips to New Orleans; Branson, Mo.; South Padre Island; and Oklahoma City, she said.
In addition to choir, Cara has been a member of the National Honor Society and the Achievement through Commitment to Education Council. She took dual credit classes that have earned her college credit in math and English.
"She's such a good kid," Wisdom said. "The fact that she's overcome so much ... I have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. I hope they turn out as well as Cara."
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