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Seeing in Color This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Orondo, WA
I look up to a lot of role models in my life. My dad who works constantly to provide for his wife, six children, son-in-law and medically-challenged granddaughter. My mom who somehow has possessed enough energy, patience, and endurance to homeschool my four brothers and I from Kindergarten all the way through High School. My piano teacher who teaches both private and public piano lessons yet still finds time to substitute for the art class and raise her two children. All these adults and many others have become unforgettable role models whom I look up to and admire, but not all role models are adults. One person in particular whose example I strive to follow is not an adult or even a teenager, but a twelve year old boy. His name is Trevor.


I met Trevor for the first time last year in a science class. He is not someone you would notice right off. He is short for his age and pale, with sandy-blonde hair and clear blue eyes sitting above freckled cheeks. He rarely spoke and squinted a lot when trying to read. One thing about Trevor that caught my attention quickly was his handwriting. I know a lot of kids (including myself) have horrible, almost ineligible handwriting but Trevor's was the kind you would expect from a Kindergartener: large and awkward like a pencil felt unfamiliar in his hand. This is something I would not understand until a few weeks in the class when out teacher announced that we would be watching a movie. Thrilled to be relieved of memorizing the Periodic Table, my friends and I eagerly arranged the chairs in the back of the room for the best viewing. Trevor, however pulled his chair to the front of the room until it was right beside the television. The teacher sent him a questioning glance and Trevor awkwardly addressed her with his fellow students looking on curiously.



"Ummm... I forgot to tell you..." Trevor started hesitantly, thought the look on his face said he had not forgot at all but was simply avoiding the subject, "I'm... legally blind."



Whispering began amongst the students beside me and I heard many quiet exclamations of, "That's why he's so squinty!" and other statements that I am sure did not boost Trevor's confidence in the least.


Throughout the rest of the year Trevor remained a quiet loner whom the rest of the students in the class either avoided or ignored. I rarely acknowledged his existence never spoke a single word to him through the whole year. Outside of that science class I never saw Trevor because we shared no other classes and my opinion of him never changed. He was just the quiet blind kid that never raised his hand in class or spoke unless it was demanded of him. This opinion could not have been more wrong.


This year Trevor and I were in an art class together. If I had to use one word to explain my reaction to seeing him in the classroom on the first day it would be: Shocked. Why in the world would a blind kid be in an art class if he could not even see the art he was doing? I expected Trevor to take a few tries at the complicated methods the rest of us were learning then give up and quit the class. But Trevor didn't quit. I soon learned that being "legally blind" did not mean he could not see at all but that he could only see basic shapes and colors. Using this limited vision, Trevor began to create. At first, the art he made was the opposite of impressive. Despite countless failures to create the exact piece of art the teacher had asked for, Trevor continued to try, never getting frustrated or disappointed but always striving for something better. After a while, Trevor began to discover his own style of art. He quit trying to use little details to make complicated works but now uses bright pastels of varying colors to create eye-catching designs and patterns. He also does vague landscapes that require few details but still use difficult methods such as fore-shortening and perspective.


Not only has Trevor's artwork bloomed in our art class but his personality has as well. He makes jokes and quirky remarks often that never fail to sent the class into a chorus of laughter. He speaks his own opinion and makes himself heard. I wondered for a long time what had caused such a sudden change in his personality then one day I realized. It was not that Trevor had become more willing to speak but that people had become more willing to listen. When Trevor was emerged in a class where expressing your personality was encouraged by the teacher and supported by the students, he became more willing to open up. After other students started noticing him for his artwork and unfailing perseverance Trevor realized that he had many abilities to be proud of despite the one disability that made him so different from his peers.


Trevor is probably one of the smartest, funniest, most enjoyable young adults I know and from him I have learned valuable lessons that I could never learn from an adult. He has taught me how perseverance pays off and to never shy away from showing your true colors. From him I have learned that being different is a gift to show off not a burden to hide. The two polar experiences I had with Trevor during the two years I have known him have made me realize that people are books that cannot be judged by their covers or even their first few pages; that to really know someone you have to read their whole story. Trevor has never had the option to judge someone by their cover because, to him, their covers are blurry and ineligible. Trevor always gets to know someone before creating an opinion on them. This is a lesson I think most teens and even adults should embrace. I wish we could all see people the way Trevor does because Trevor doesn't judge people for their little imperfections and mistakes. Trevor sees their true colors.




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