Chanelle Hill, who has been blind since birth, ran in her first cross country meet this week.
The 12-year-old ran the mile, handling Valley Mission Park’s steep hill, plenty of sharp turns, all with the help of special education P.E. teacher Kellie Stockton.
Her time (13:11) wasn’t stellar.
But time isn’t the issue for Chanelle, a seventh grader at Mountain View Middle School.
Running for fitness and participating with other students are the issues.
“It makes me feel pretty good to be there with the other kids,” Chanelle said.
Stockton usually runs at Chanelle’s side, talking her through any changes in terrain. Around Valley Mission, where the junior high track meet was on Thursday, there were times when Stockton directed Chanell to grab her elbow. Both describe Chanelle’s running as not quite being at the stage where it feels natural and balanced to her.
“But I’m getting there,” Chanelle said.
“Today, she did really well,” Stockton said. “She didn’t reach her goal. But it’s not out of reach.”
Chanelle is a grown-up 12, articulate, with the ability to relate well to adults.
She started her track experience last spring at a meet for blind students in Vancouver, Wash. Next spring, she’s planning on going out for track at Mountain View. Shotput, long jump and perhaps the 100-yard dash, or the longer 800 run may be her events, Chanelle said.
Connie Hill, Chanelle’s mother, said her daughter keeps a positive attitude, no matter what.
“She just likes to be out there with her friends,” Hill said.
Stockton doesn’t take all the credit for Chanelle’s success. Teachers Kathy March and Patty Markofski also have made it possible for Chanelle to succeed.
But mostly, it’s Chanelle herself.
Last spring, Mountain View staff nominated Chanelle for a Chase Youth Award, for demonstrating courage in her everyday life.
“She tries so hard. I’m really proud of her,” Stockton said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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