Karina Mora, a seventh grader at Spratling Middle School in Keyes, doesn’t see herself as a kid with significant hearing loss and she refuses to become a “victim.”
Since Karina was a baby she has had little to no hearing in both of her ears. She began learning sign language early on, and by third grade she was learning to read lips and taking speech therapy. Two years ago she received a cochlear implant. Over time she has become more and more independent.
“She is an amazing young lady who has been able to rise above what other students would see as a disability and deterrent to success. She is surpassing everyone and she sets the bar high for her peers,” said Karina’s math and English teacher Ray Nobuhata.
Karina was honored last week, along with several other Turlock area students, by local politicians and leaders during the Every Student Succeeding awards program held in Modesto. Every Student Succeeding honors students who have overcome and succeeded against challenges, have gone beyond expectations and have won the hearts of their teachers and staff. The honor is given by the Association of School Administrators Stanislaus Charter and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
Spratling resource teacher Lisa Garcia said that while Karina is exceeding, nothing comes easy for her. “She works really hard to earn her good grades because she wants to earn them herself,” she said. “If we had 100 Karinas it would make our lives much easier.”
With her cochlear implants Karina’s hearing is greatly improved, however she relays on a sound amplifier to hear her teacher.
“She used to have a teacher in the classroom with her to help her, but she said she didn’t need the help. Now she wants to work on learning independent of her amplifier,” explained Garcia.
Spratling teachers applaud her no excuses attitude and her proactive approach in her education. She is known to ask for clarification and even moving seats for a better view of her teachers so she can combine lip reading with hearing.
In addition to perfecting her hearing strategies and word pronunciation, Karina also speaks Spanish.
“She is a really remarkable girl and she is well liked on campus. She has a great sense of humor and she can take teasing. When a project comes up in class that requires a partner she suddenly becomes really, really popular,” joked Nobuhata.
Karina said she hopes to become an artist or photographer when she grows up and she wants to go to college after high school. In her free time she likes playing soccer and pickle ball.