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Student of Character: Patricia Chavez

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — This week’s pick for Students of Character is Patricia Chavez, a senior at Springfield Central High School. While she is blind in one eye and has decreased vision in the other, she has persevered through the challenges when others in the same situation might have given up.

On her clarinet, Chavez hits a lot of high notes as a member of the marching band, jazz band and the concert band. Band director Ray Dandurand was one of two teachers to nominate Chavez.

“She has to read left and right, up and down and then take direction from me, move her fingers and breath and be successful,” said Springfield Central High Band Director, Ray Dandurand. “And she does it with class.”

Chavez also plays basketball, soccer, volleyball, track and field, excels in academics, and has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Born with the vision problems, doctors expected her to spend her life in a wheelchair.

“Because I wouldn’t be able to walk around because I couldn’t see or my depth perception would be so bad that you look at a table and you think it’s right in front of you and it isn’t,” said Chavez.

With the urging of her parents, Chavez set out to prove the doctors wrong.

“That’s probably when i first picked up my first basketball,” said Chavez. “I said, hey look, I want to do this.”

English teacher Rebecca Rowland also nominated Chavez. Chavez wrote an essay in her class in which she likened herself to a black cat. Part of her message was that perceptions can be deceiving.

“It was a moving piece,” said Rowland. “It was inspirational. And I just find her to be an inspiration not only for her peers but also for the faculty, the teacher.”

Chavez plans to go to college to become a veterinarian.

Student of character is sponsored by ABC40, The Republican, Masslive.com, American International College, Big Y World Class Market and Country Bank. Students are nominated by their teachers and principals in the fall. All of the students are eligible for a $2,500 scholarship to American International College. But in the spring, just one of them will be awarded a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the college, a new laptop from Big Y World Class Market and a savings bond from Country Bank.


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