Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shyness Defeated by Great Singing

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shyness Defeated by Great Singing

Article excerpt

Joyce Wilson's singing helped create a bridge between herself

and the rest of the world.

She is a 21-year-old senior at Palm Avenue Exceptional Student

Center, in the Paxon area of the Westside, who was left with a

severe speech impediment in the wake of a childhood trauma.

Even though she sometimes can't express her feelings, Wilson

has no trouble reaching people when she's on stage performing

one of her favorite pop tunes by Whitney Houston.

"When she sings, you can't tell she has a stuttering problem,"

said Janetta Norman, principal at Palm Avenue. "She gives an

excellent performance. She always gets a standing ovation and

brings tears to people's eyes who hear her sing."

Next month, Wilson will be honored for her vocal talent.

She was one of 35 students selected nationwide last month for

the "Yes I Can!" award sponsored by the National Foundation for

Exceptional Children, an honor that recognizes students who have

overcome obstacles to become successful.

However, Wilson needs to raise money to attend the awards

ceremony set for April 9-13 in Salt Lake City, Norman said. The

trip will cost about $3,500, which includes airfare, lodging,

meals, luggage and clothes, Norman said.

"I'm excited about the award," Wilson said. "I want to be a

singer. I love Whitney Houston because she is a talented singer

and she's my best friend."

Norman said school officials will help Wilson raise the funds.

So far they've borrowed only $286 for her airplane ticket,

Norman said.

"We had to pay for the ticket in order to get the discount,"

Norman said. "If I have to go into my funds and pay for her way

I will. I've done it before. But I think the public should know

that we need to raise the money."

Wilson is a diminutive young woman who lives with her aunt

along with her six brothers and sisters in the Lake Forest area

of Northwest Jacksonville. …

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