VIROQUA — Britany Deaver doesn’t see herself being defined by a significant learning disability in reading.
“I feel like I just have a disability and it’s no big deal,” the Viroqua High School senior said. “There are others with the same disability and we became good friends. It’s a part of me; it’s part of my traits.”
Before the learning disability was diagnosed between first and second grade, Deaver said she “felt a little lost.” After the diagnosis, Deaver said at first she didn’t notice a difference.
“Once I got to I think fifth or sixth grade, we started Read 180 and that seemed to help me a lot,” she said. “In eighth grade I got to join an English class with the rest of the kids. It was nice to know I had grown.”
Deaver said she overcame the reading disability by trying to study as much as she could, whether it was vocabulary or other English-related topics.
“Now it’s mostly I just go into Ms. (Vicki) Kirkeeng’s room where I read tests or she’ll read them for me; from there it’s basically myself,” she said.
Kirkeeng, who teaches high school special education, nominated Deaver for the La Crosse Tribune Extra Effort Award because she is a hard-working student.
“You wouldn’t know she has a disability because of how hard she works,” Kirkeeng said. “She still pulls As and Bs in most of her classes. She always has had a lot of support from Mom and Dad and her brother and sister. It’s fun to see how well she does.”
Kirkeeng said since Deaver entered high school, she only wanted to take regular classes and not developmental classes.
“She takes college prep classes,” Kirkeeng said. “She’s always wanted regular classes.”
Kirkeeng said Deaver has never taken easy classes.
“Next semester (some of the classes) she’s taking are Algebra II and AP environmental science; that’s a huge load,” Kirkeeng said. “So she’s never shied away from taking harder classes. She’s always challenging herself.”
Kirkeeng said Deaver has never let anything hold her back. “She’s just such a sweet kid.”
Deaver has several favorite classes and activities at VHS.
“I love Mr. (John) Mulvaney’s home ec classes,” she said. “I love cooking; it’s a stress-reliever. He helps you a lot and tells you a lot of life lessons like don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Deaver, the daughter of Eric and Debra Deaver, also enjoys music, and is in the band. She is a percussionist and has played the ukulele for three years.
“I feel like music has been in my life forever, going from piano lessons to band lessons in percussion; I grew up with it,” she said.
Drama and musical productions have also been a big part of Deaver’s life. She has served as stage manager for most of her high school career.
“It’s another thing that grew from middle school to high school; it’s been with me forever,” she said. “My sister had been backstage for musicals and my brother as well, both on and off stage. I saw their cool friends and I have made a lot of friends.”
Outside of school, Deaver is involved in 4-H, the Vernon County Toys for Tots program and Viroqua Community Theatre.
Deaver said she feels ready for college, especially in the area of time management where you have a lot of assignments due at the same time. “You have to organize yourself and get things done.”
After graduation she will attend the University of Wisconsin-Stout to major in rehabilitation services.
“I am fascinated with the brain,” Deaver said. “I want to help people with mental disabilities, depression and anxiety.”
She said she decided on her major because she grew up with relatives who have autism and Asperger’s. “I just want to help people like them.”