Yes I Can! Award Recipients

CEC will recognize 21 Yes I Can Award recipients on April 11, 2014, at the 2014 CEC Convention & Expo in Philadelphia. Congratulations to these inspiring young people!  Nominations for the 2015 Yes I Can Awards opens in May -- stay tuned for more information!


Academics

 Kevin Bailey

Kevin Bailey
Louisville, K.Y.

Kevin, 19, a student at the University of Louisville, has developed excellent orientation and mobility skills to gain his independence. A Kentucky Governor’s Scholar and the recipient of college merit scholarships, Kevin has a passion for public transportation. His career goal: To make transit systems better and more affordable for everyone.

 Breckin Blansit

Breckin Blansit
Bonner Springs, K.S.

Breckin, 12, will stop at nothing to achieve her goals and has excelled academically because of her hard work and intense desire to learn. Breckin, who loves to read, is described by her teachers as a leader and a role model for her classmates for her kindness and a positive belief in herself and others.

 Shaelin Cantwell

Shaelin Cantwell
Downingtown, P.A.

Shaelin, 17, is an actress with the Acting Without Boundaries troupe, loves to ride horses with her twin sister Perry and is active in her school’s Leo Club – all while maintaining a 3.9 grade point average. Shaelin’s teachers describe her as unfailingly positive and continually striving to do her best.

 Jose Edmonds

Jose Edmonds
Tucker, G.A.

Jose, 10, is enjoying learning to read and write using an augmentative and alternative communication device and continues to improve his communication skills using speech and sign language. A class leader who loves reading and entertaining his classmates, Jose amazes his teachers with his will to understand, learn and communicate.

 Kolby Norris

Kolby Norris
Morgantown, W.V.

Kolby, 10, wowed his teachers and family with his amazing strides in reading, writing and math during third grade. Using his tech savvy, technology tools and a variety of computer programs to build his skills and knowledge, Kolby’s successes have helped his confidence to soar along with his academic abilities.


Arts

 Justin Peters

Justin Peters
Oak Hill, F.L.

Justin, 19, is a world-class musician and composer who has played the trombone in county, district, state, and tri-state bands and orchestras, and toured Europe as part of the Sound of American Honor Band and Chorus. His favorite question is, “What’s next?” and he’s always looking for a new, exciting challenge.

 Zebulon Risen

Zebulon Risen
Greensburg, K.Y.

Zeb, 15, is an accomplished musician, who plays string bass, bass guitar and piano, learning all of his pieces by ear and then committing them to memory. His exceptional work ethic and skills have earned him the admiration of his classmates and teachers. “Music,” he says, “makes my heart happy.”

 Bronwen Tagoe

Bronwen Tagoe
Harrisburg, P.A.

Bronwen, 21, is a gifted artist and musician. Using her hands as her “world of sight,” she makes beautiful works of art in several mediums, and plays Mozart, Bach and Beethoven on the piano. She also has created a line of clothing that uses Braille for people with visual impairments.

 Reggie Turner

Reginald Turner
Jacksonville, F.L.

Reggie, 21, is a self-taught artist with a passion for ancient Egyptian art. He volunteers at his former school as a teacher’s assistant, supporting other students in their exploration of art. Reggie’s teachers rave about his positive attitude and tenacity, and fully support his dream of being a professional artist.

 Christopher Vise

Christopher Vise
Walker, L.A.

Christopher, 18, uses his artistic talents to express his emotions, to work through the challenges life presents and as a motivator to achieve his academic goals. Christopher is a gifted artist whose drawings have been recognized in community competitions, accolades that have helped give him confidence in his art and in his life.


Athletics

 Eddy Solla

Eddy Solla
Chilliwack, B.C., Canada

Eddy, 18, is a true scholar-athlete. A member of the Canadian Paralympic team, Eddy is passionate about wheelchair racing, loves all sports, and has been an inspiration to others with his dedication, perseverance and desire to give back. His goal: To represent Canada at the 2016 Brazil Paralympic Games.


School & Community Activities

 Tia Carr

Tia Carr
Oswego, I.L.

Tia, 18, is dedicated to giving members of her community the gift of life. An avid volunteer, she is known as the organizer of numerous blood drives that have collected enough blood to potentially save 3,000 lives. Above all else, she wants others to know “they are not fighting alone.”

 Amanda Carroll

Amanda Carroll
Longwood, F.L.

Amanda, 18, has been an enthusiastic, energetic volunteer ever since middle school. In addition to taking a rigorous schedule of courses, she volunteers at the Florida Hospital for Children and Nemours Children’s Hospital. Her motto: “Dream big, work hard, and achieve things previously thought to be impossible.”

 Devon Christensen

Devon Christensen
Grace, I.D.

Devon, 20, is determined to help others and give back to his community. His fundraiser to help buy a handcycle for another student was not only successful, but enabled the student’s family to take their first-ever family vacation. Devon is known for his boundless compassion and determination to help others.


Self-Advocacy

 Tyler Woodworth

Tyler Woodworth
Lockport, I.L.

Tyler, 18, a sled hockey player, uncovered an equal rights discrepancy and worked with his state representatives to change it. Recognized by the Governor of Illinois as “a leader who possesses intelligence and integrity,” Tyler is intent upon making the world a better place for everyone—and a place where everyone is treated fairly.


Technology

 Chase Johnson

Chase Johnson
Talmo, G.A.

Chase, 16, is the “go-to man” for his teachers who need computer support. He built and maintains a home computer server and created an artificial intelligence named Jarvis, which is integrated into his home. Chase owns his own business, Mr. Technology, and enjoys spending time on computer and electronics projects.


Transition

 Flora Damerjian

Flora Damerjian
Jacksonville, F.L.

Flora, 22, moved to the United States only two years ago, and has since made amazing progress in learning English and becoming more independent through work experiences. Her employers describe her as a cheerful, hardworking employee. Flora believes that hard work and a good attitude can overcome almost any challenge.

 Mackenzie Kiel

Mackenzie Kiel
Teulon, M.B., Canada

Mackenzie, 21, is a hard worker whose positive attitude and collegiality at work have garnered praise from his employer. Mackenzie is working with a landscaping company, where he is earning credits toward a college certificate in landscaping while building a bond between his school and community businesses.

 Lindsey Kussow

Lindsey Kussow
Rincon, G.A.

Lindsey, 21, discovered during volunteer work at a local hospital, where she was learning bookkeeping and providing general administrative support, that she enjoys office work. She used this self-knowledge to land a position at a local business, where she has received raises and consistently positive job performance reviews.

 Shicari Ransom

Shicari Ransom
Covina, C.A.

Shicari, 21, a student at Mt. San Antonio College, learned to read Braille transit schedules so he could get around campus and his community with minimal support. As a result of his newfound independence, Shicari has discovered a love for languages, and is intent upon studying French, Spanish and others.

 Emmanuel Zayas

Emmanuel Zayas
Bethlehem, P.A.

Manny, 17, participated in an employment program during high school, which he completed in half the allotted time, and is considered a leader among his peers. An excellent and confident self-advocate, Manny now works as a prep cook at Lehigh University, where he is exploring his interest in the culinary arts.

Read about past Yes I Can award recipients: