CEC recognized 27 Yes I Can! Award recipients at its 2010 Convention & Expo in Nashville. Congratulations to these exceptional young people!

Read more about the 2010 Yes I Can! recipients in the nine awards categories:

    Academics

     Kristina Brewster Kristina Brewster
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Kristina is an avid reader and a model student. She devours books and has developed strong conceptual skills to help her recall the details of everything she reads. When not maintaining her 96 average, Kristina, who has Down syndrome, manages the junior varsity girls’ soccer team and participates in her church choir, Girl Scouts, and the Special Olympics.
     Dylan Domangue Dylan Domangue
    Gray, La.
    Dylan hasn’t let cerebral palsy hold him back from excelling academically. He has appeared on the honor roll consistently since the first grade and was named Fifth Grade Student of the Year at Coteau Bayou Blue Elementary School. This Beta Club member has also aced Louisiana’s standardized tests and won math and spelling bees.
     Sarah Eastridge Sarah Eastridge
    French Settlement, La.
    Sarah stands out in the classroom. While unable to attend school full time due to complications from cystic fibrosis, she has maintained honor-roll status for the past four years, tested in the 90th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and received advanced scores on standardized state assessments. Sarah also raises money for others with cystic fibrosis.
     Dylan Estrada Dylan Estrada
    Prairieville, La.
    Dylan never shies away from a challenge. Diagnosed with a hearing impairment as a toddler, he amazed his parents when he started constructing his own computers at age five. He now maintains a 4.0 GPA in general education classes and has earned awards in most subject areas. Dylan even skipped the seventh grade, a testament to his strong work ethic.
     Brienna Herold Brienna Herold
    Spring Valley, Wis.
    Brienna is a determined student who lets nothing stand in her way. She maintains mostly “A” grades, scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT, and has earned awards for her essay writing, science fair projects, and photography. Brienna has received a full scholarship to attend Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C, starting this fall.
     James Neal James Neal
    Arroyo Grande, Calif.
    James has made great strides academically. Though he has autism and an emotional disturbance, he has blossomed in the inclusive education program at Arroyo Grande High School and maintains a “B” average. James has passed the California High School Exit Exam and completed the 20 hours of community service required to graduate, which he will do this June.
     Carlos Pecos Carlos “Como” Pecos
    Cochiti Pueblo, N.M.
    Como exceeds all expectations. He impresses his teachers with his ability in academics, computers, and the arts and has landed on the honor roll every semester at Santa Fe Indian School. Como, who has cognitive and learning disabilities, also has a passion for volunteering at community events and is a true inspiration to others.
     Dawson Scoggins Dawson Scoggins
    Cleveland, Tenn.
    Dawson proves that you’re never too young to succeed. Dawson has already learned to function independently, control his behavior, adjust to school schedules, and interact well with his peers. With help from his special education teacher and speech and occupational therapists, he now flourishes in his kindergarten classroom at Hopewell Elementary.
     Olivia Shaw Olivia Shaw
    Templeton, Calif.
    Olivia is a straight-A student. Olivia loves using her Braille writer to showcase her creative writing talents, including a book with an impressive 19 chapters. Popular among her peers, this fifth-grader was recently elected class representative to the Student Council. Her hobbies include skiing, playing the violin, singing, and bike riding.


    Arts

     2010YIC_Anthony_Jake Jake Anthony
    Burnaby, B.C., Canada
    Jake is an accomplished actor who finds that performing helps him cope with communication difficulties due to autism, anxiety, and other disabilities. Since entering high school, he has acted in five stage plays. Jake also appeared as an extra in the mega-hit movie, “Twilight 2: New Moon,” and another upcoming film in the “Twilight” series.
     2010YIC_Biggs_Brandon Brandon K. Biggs
    Mountain View, Calif.
    Brandon performs beautifully on stage. This actor, singer, and dancer has starred in such well-known productions as “Camelot,” “Hello Dolly!” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Brandon, who has a visual impairment, uses auditory cues, touch, and good old-fashioned hard work to master the gestures and facial expressions needed to pass his auditions.

     2010YIC_Fuentes_Lyudmilla Lyudmilla Fuentes
    Lakeland, Fla.
    Lyudmilla is a stunning musician. While still in elementary school, she sang with the nationally acclaimed Miami Children’s Choir and appeared in the Florida Grand Opera’s production of “Carmen.” With great determination, Lyudmilla learned to play the cello with her left hand using a special adaptive device and has performed in front of crowds as large as 4,000.
     2010YIC_Mannebach_Dayna Dayna Mannebach
    Oakley, Kan.
    Dayna shines brightly in the visual, literary, and performing arts. She has won numerous awards for her artwork, helped design costumes for high school plays, and participated in poetry readings, despite having multiple learning disabilities. Her outstanding portfolio earned her a scholarship to a community college, where she is now enrolled.

     

    Athletics

    James Adams  James Adams
    Acworth, Ga.
    James possesses inspiring athletic ability. Though meningitis left him a quadruple amputee as an infant, he competes in a variety of sporting events. James stars on the Georgia Blazers wheelchair basketball team and is routinely sought after as a soccer goalie. If that weren’t impressive enough, he recently completed his first 10K road race.
     Darlene Jakubowski Darlene Jakubowski
    Fort St. John, B.C., Canada
    Darlene is a world-class figure skater and ice dancer who has overcome the effects of a growth deficiency called Cornelia de Lange syndrome. She skates six days a week and travels two hours each day for her training. Darlene has won numerous medals in the Special Olympics and was named her hometown’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2009.
     Ryan Korengel Ryan Korengel
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Ryan lets nothing get in the way of his golf game. In September 2008, a traumatic brain injury left him with partial vision loss and paralysis on his left side. He has since learned to play one-handed and made the golf team at Madeira Middle School. Ryan even improved his score from 48 to 47 strokes per match.
     

    Community Service

     Darryl Gray Darryl Gray
    Woodbridge, Va.
    Darryl loves serving his community. More than 800 hours of community service make Darryl, who has a developmental intellectual disability, a contender for the 2010 Congressional Award Gold Medal. He has volunteered for political campaigns, including President Obama’s, and is an active member of The Arc of Northern Virginia, where he teaches and helps co-host special events. 
     Korey Soderman Korey Soderman
    W. Palm Beach, Fla.
    Korey loves sharing his passion for music and life with others. He established Korey’s Krew, a nonprofit that helps make concerts and other cultural events more accessible for people with disabilities. Korey, who has cerebral palsy, is a popular motivational speaker at local charities, churches, and hospitals. He also enjoys disc jockeying on the side.
     Melissa Stuckey Melissa Stuckey
    Sterling, Va.
    Melissa has a passion for volunteerism. Melissa, who has a seizure disorder and a learning disability, has dedicated hundreds of hours to the Red Cross, a local summer camp, and many other organizations. She worked on President Obama’s inauguration and was recently elected vice president of the Extra Mile Club, a general service club at her high school.
     

    Employment

    Michael Roche
    Michael Roche
    Huntley, Ill.
    Michael is a valuable restaurant employee who has performed cleaning and other tasks at the Walleye Grill since 2008. The restaurant manager recently extended his work hours, calling him “hardworking” and “a wonderful asset to the company.” Michael, who has autism, has also learned to travel to his job independently and communicates well with his coworkers.

     

    Extracurricular Activities

    Gregory Miller
    Gregory Miller
    Mason, Ohio
    Greg abounds with school spirit. This is most evident through his role as Comet Man, mascot of William Mason High School. Greg, who has autism, has received varsity letters for each year of service as the mascot. He also participates in baseball, bowling, and school plays. In summertime, he enjoys working at a local amusement park.
     David Ritchlin David Ritchlin
    Deming, N.M.
    David is a natural leader. As junior and senior class president, David, who has learning disabilities, organized the prom; established a class song, rose, and motto; and secured a speaker for graduation, where he will also give a speech. He also plays on his school’s football team and was selected for the all-district team of top area athletes.

     

    Independent Living Skills

    Cameron Strunk
    Cameron Strunk
    St. Charles, Mo.
    Cameron becomes more self-sufficient every day. With help from her parents and teachers, Cameron, who has autism and tactile defensiveness, has made remarkable progress in choosing proper clothing for school, especially in cooler weather. Today, she dresses herself independently and wears clothes that are appropriate and well-fitted. Her self-esteem and peer interactions have also improved.

     

    Self–Advocacy

    Hunter Lindberg
    Hunter Lindberg
    Ooltewah, Tenn.
    Hunter is a strong advocate for himself and others with Tourette syndrome. He first helped his teachers and peers better understand the disorder. To date, Hunter has reached nearly 3,000 people through his skillful speaking appearances as a Youth Ambassador for the National Tourette Syndrome Association. He has also granted radio interviews and met with legislators in Washington, D.C.
     Allan Marx Allan “A.J.” Marx
    Bismarck, N.D.
    A.J. enjoys educating people about cerebral palsy and has made it his mission to address accessibility issues in his community. Because of A.J.’s efforts, many businesses have made necessary changes to their properties, including his local hockey rink and Wal-Mart store. He also developed an educational PowerPoint presentation to share with classmates and writes disability awareness articles for the school newspaper.
     Jessica Smart Jessica Smart
    Olive Branch, Miss.
    Jessica is an inspiration to others. A strong communicator, she helps spread awareness of Down syndrome as a self-advocate member of the Down Syndrome Association of the Mid-South’s Board of Directors. She regularly volunteers at a local preschool and has conducted many television appearances and speaking engagements, all in the name of helping people with Down syndrome.


     

    Technology

    Chelsea King
    Chelsea King
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Chelsea has mastered communicative technology. Chelsea, who has type 1 spinal muscular atrophy, uses technology to read aloud to schoolmates, make her school’s morning announcements, and send e-mails to friends and family. This music lover also showcases her extraordinary sense of rhythm and timing through a Soundbeam that translates her eyebrow and finger movement into musical notes.