Celebrating teachers: Alief ISD cheer coach mentors blind student

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Overcoming obstacles: An Alief ISD teacher is helping a middle school student accomplish her dream of being a cheerleader, despite being blind. (KTRK)

Teachers help change the lives of students every day.

In Alief ISD, a cheerleading coach has done just that by being a mentor and so much more to a blind middle school student.

Klentzman Intermediate sixth grader Blessing Nwabuoku was left blind after a mistake that cost her her eyesight.

"When they took me to the doctor to see what was wrong with my eyes, they accidentally put in the wrong eye drop," she said.

But Blessing hasn't let that stop her from being ambitious. She decided she wanted to cheer last year when she was in the fifth grade, but she missed the tryout.

That's when Fanesha Washington, a behavioral interventionist at Klentzman Intermediate and the school cheer coach, stepped in to work with Blessing.

"She was really dedicated. She came to me and said, 'I got my split. I got my split,'" said Washington.

Blessing, who is 100 percent visually impaired, made the cheer squad. In fact, she even calls cheers for the team. The teaching technique is just different.

"If we're doing transitions, I'll clap and so she's used to counting her steps to move forward or backward," Washington explained.

For Washington, Blessing is the same as all the other cheerleaders. "I said, 'Come on, you can cheer. You're just like everybody else.'"

"I feel like she's a mother to me. She's always there for me when I'm down or anytime when something's going on, like when I need help. She's always taking care of me," Blessing said.
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