ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - She dances on her high school dance team, does theater, volunteers in the community, is the reigning Teen Miss Gonzales Jambalaya Festival, fluent in Spanish, a World War II history buff, and also has a advice blog for teens. Sounds like a lot for any teenager, but Grace Graugnard is also deaf.
She is now able to hear thanks to a cochlear implant. Grace's parents Rebecca and James pushed Grace to live in a world with sound from a very early age. Rebecca says, "The things that she got involved with such as dancing, she excelled at it. So we were very thankful that we made the decision for her to be verbal."
Grace will tell you that she doesn't want any special treatment due to her disability. Nor does she want it to define her life. Grace says, "I really want to make a difference later in life and in order to do that I have to have a platform. And I feel like doing all the extra curricular activities will get that platform for me and will enable me to excel later in life."
Grace was nominated by her high school dance coach Joy. Joy believes Grace is an inspiration. Joy says, "Here's a child that has such a great vision and outlook on life that I think a lot of adults should have as well." Joy was amazed when Grace performed a dance routine flawlessly without the use of her hearing aids, "The first time I've seen Grace take off her hearing aids and perform a dance deaf; that really touched me and how much effort she puts in what she does."
Grace uses dance as a release. She says, "I think it's a matter of expressing your feelings, expressing a certain emotion and that's what really drew me in from the start.".
Rebecca says she doesn't need to push Grace into doing all that she does. Grace just has a passion for life Rebecca says. "When I see her work with those in need or with people in the community; I love to see her connection with people."