KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This week’s Reaching for Excellence young achiever is sure to wow you. Born virtually blind, Brooke Petro has overcome countless obstacles, and is making a name for herself on the national platform.
Brooke is only 10 years old, and while she’s visually impaired, it’s all the fourth grader at Nativity Parish School has ever known.
“I can’t see things that are far away, too far away. If there’s like a bright light behind someone’s face, I can’t see their face,” Brooke explained.
“I’m just really happy.”
Happiness, something everyone aspires to achieve, yet so few ever do. Brooke loves to swim, and has been doing so since she was 2 years old.
“I usually will swim laps and will sometimes do things with kickboards, or we’ll put things between our legs so we can only use our arms to swim,” Brooke said.
“She’ll lead the swim class and she’ll be the first one down the lap lane and all of the kids will be following her instead of the other way around,” said swim teacher Mary Wilbern O’Neal.
She works with Brooke once a week.
“Every time I work with her, I am just constantly amazed. It seems to be effortless, and I know that it’s not,” the teacher said.
But swimming is just one of her major accomplishments. The activity she’s most proud of is the Braille Challenge.
“In the regionals, I’ve gotten first place every year,” she said, something she’s achieved for three-straight years.
The challenges is hosted by the Kansas State School for the Blind, she’ll learn in May if she’s going to nationals in Los Angeles. Brooke says she plans to work for NASA when she gets older.