A disability doesn’t stop him

When senior Scottie Rapp was 3 years old, his doctors noticed he was deaf. They didn’t fully understand what happened, whether he was born deaf or he developed it, but the evidence of hearing loss was obvious.

He didn’t learn how to speak until he was 8, which put Rapp at a disadvantage in his learning. But this hindrance at such a young age has never stopped Rapp from achieving his goals and staying determined.

Rapp says in elementary school he was falling behind in many areas because he couldn’t understand his teachers like his peers did. His mom didn’t put him in a deaf program right away, so finally getting interpreters in first grade helped him immensely. After getting interpreters and realizing that some skills needed more work, Rapp stayed after school to learn and get all the help he needed.

“They helped me catch up in reading (and speaking) because I was behind…,” Rapp said. “It was hard to do both at the same time because usually you speak before you read.”

Educational interpreter Jill Maude has known Rapp since he was in third grade. When she first met him, he had hearing aids, but she says it was very hard to understand his speech. She worked with him for a while at Mary Bryan Elementary and then met him again as a freshman at SHS. Maude says she was quite impressed with Rapp’s improvement because he had gotten two cochlear implants, and she could understand most everything he said.

Since then, Maude has worked with Rapp throughout his four years of high school. She has seen him grow, but there has been struggle along the way. Rapp is a part of robotics at SHS and while Maude says he is a brilliant young man, he still faces challenges even within his tight-knit group.

“If you have a group of eight or 10 people kind of standing around in a circle all trying to talk and discuss a problem and how to solve it, (it’s) difficult for him to always follow the conversation 100%,” Maude said.

Rapp feels that robotics, although it may be hard to understand everyone all of the time, has really helped him prepare for college and get ready for going into the real world, as he wants to become an engineer. He says he has learned necessary problem-solving skills and plans to mentor in a robotics club once he graduates.

Rapp also participated in marching band all of his high school career. Although he didn’t march on the field, he played percussion in the pit, and Rapp says he sometimes found it hard to keep on beat because his hearing is a little bit behind everyone else’s. His interpreters have always been there to help him stick with it, though, and he says they have never been a distraction or gotten in his way.

Maude feels that looking at Rapp, most wouldn’t think he could be on the robotics team or play for the marching band, but he did, and that’s what makes his story worth hearing. She says she hopes others are inspired by his ability to conquer adversity.

“(He shows) you can do anything you want,” Maude said.