HOMETOWN HERO: Stephanie Ward

WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Stephanie Ward, a teacher at Spring Valley High School, teaches students life lessons by example.

Her drama class students are honoring her as our latest Hometown Hero – due partly to the special challenge she overcomes.

Stephanie has taught for more than seven years. Last year, life threw her a curve ball. She went blind.

Student Levi Kelley said, “There's no one better that could do this job. I'm going to cry. Just her general attitude about everything, nothing can get her down. I mean, she's always so positive. Even if she thinks she can't do it; she always has some glint of hope."

That glint of hope: is what catches people's attention -- the positive attitude, the compassion, the optimism.

"I've had some of the kids come to me and say, ‘You know, when I think about you and what you're doing, it makes me think I can do, I can do anything. I don't have to be afraid. I can do anything.’ "

Stephanie said the stage is the one place she doesn’t feel blind.

“I feel comfortable with them, and they trust me,” she said. “Now, they didn't at first. It was like, ‘How in the world can she do that? She can't direct, she can't block things.’ But where I could see before, I have it in my head. I know what the stage looks like."

Students say Stephanie is proof that any challenge can be conquered. They also say she has changed their lives forever.

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