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Eau Claire teen with hearing loss to pursue chemistry degree


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) — Jordan Pauley is almost completely deaf.

But the 17-year-old senior at Memorial High School hasn’t let that stand in her way.

Pauley plays the flute, the piano and the tenor saxophone, and she has been selected twice to take part in the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, which performs in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Pauley has relied on almost no interpretive services in her classes, where she has maintained a 4.0 GPA, said Michelle Moss, a counselor who called the teen — one of 372 Memorial seniors who graduated this month — “an awesome student and human being.”

Pauley also played tennis for the Old Abes and was named a girls tennis all-Big Rivers Conference second team selection in 2018, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported.

Pauley, the daughter of Brian and Denise Pauley of Eau Claire, will be returning to Big Sky country in August, where she plans to major in chemistry at Montana State University at Bozeman.

“I really like the research opportunities they have and the mountains,” said Pauley, who has experience skiing some and moving others.

Diagnosed with a severe hearing loss at age 3, Pauley, who wears hearing aids, “realized early on I was going to have to work harder,” she said.

Her chemistry teacher Bryan Weghorn doesn’t doubt Pauley’s hearing loss makes her do just that, “but I have never seen it discourage her or keep her from reaching her goals,” he said.

While she hasn’t yet decided on her exact career path, Pauley said she “kind of always wanted to do something science related.”

The longtime animal lover at one time considered becoming a veterinarian; however, the university’s snow science program has piqued her interest, and she also is considering going pre-med. (Her dad is a physician.)

“With chemistry, there is always something to figure out,” said Pauley, who took her first chemistry class as a sophomore and an advanced placement chemistry class last year.

“Jordan is a great all-around student and is particularly good at the sciences, and she will be successful in any of the many options she could pursue with a chemistry degree,” Weghorn said.

No matter what she decides, Pauley believes the education she earned at Memorial has prepared her for the future.

“The teachers have always been willing to help, and there have always been opportunities to learn,” she said.

Ted Theyerl, head coach of the Chippewa Valley Nordic Ski Team, a cross country ski team for students in the area that Pauley has been part of, has no doubt that whatever she does, she will do it well.

“I think she is pretty exceptional,” Theyerl said of Pauley, who joined the team in fifth or sixth grade and took a break for a couple of years before returning her junior and senior year. “We loved having her on the team. If all my skiers could be like Jordan, I’d be sitting pretty well.”

He called the high school senior a great role model and inspiration to many, not to mention talented.

“She is great at music,” said Theyerl, who watched her perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “she is a good student, and she has given her all in skiing.”

At the end of the season, Theyerl said he told her she needed to bring her skis to Montana State, and she promised she would.

“If you look at everything she has done and accomplished, it’s pretty amazing,” he said.

“I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for her,” Weghorn said.


Information from: Leader-Telegram, http://www.leadertelegram.com/

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