Rock climbing requires overcoming many obstacles. But when Mary Hefty set a goal to go rock climbing, she faced an obstacle that most climbers don’t have to encounter—being able to see where she’s going. Mary is legally blind. But that obviously doesn’t keep her from achieving great things. A senior at McCluer North High School, she demonstrates great persistence in nearly everything she does.
As a visually impaired traveler, she receives orientation and mobility instruction and uses a long cane to help her navigate her neighborhood, school and community environments safely and independently. She plans routes using various methods of technology to help her. With the help of apps and her instructors, she can cross streets at lighted and non-lighted intersections as well as accessing public transportation to get her to her destinations.
“Orientation and mobility training can be extremely challenging as one learns to independently navigate their environment,” said her teacher and nominator, Kelly Teuscher. “Mary has overcome many factors that come with independent travel such as traveling in various weather conditions, facing the fears and anticipations of crossing the streets including complicated intersections, interacting with the bus driver to give and get useful information, using good money management and handling skills, and being able to use technology to plan and navigate routes, and using self-correct techniques if and when needed during travel.”
Mary’s hard work and willingness to challenge herself have paid off as she continues to surmount new obstacles at every step of her journey.