Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Teens Learn Life Isn't Always Fair

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Teens Learn Life Isn't Always Fair

Article excerpt

TOMMY HOREJES is a typical American teen-ager, except that he's more successful than most. He maintains an A average at University City High School, and competes on the soccer, wrestling and tennis teams. What's more, he's an Eagle Scout.

His best friend, Scott Campbell, is a senior at Ladue High School. He carries a B average, and he works after school. He is a big-time bowler - his average is 195 - and he is also an Eagle Scout.

Despite their accomplishments, the two young men seem more than happy to be accepted as typical teen-agers. That's because both had to overcome the same hurdle to earn the "typical kid" sobriquet. Both were born with profound hearing impairments. They met at the Central Institute for the Deaf. Horejes began his instruction there when he was 6 months old. Campbell began attending the institute when he was 3. Both learned sign language, and lip reading, and how to speak. Eventually, after years of work, both were mainstreamed into their respective school districts. Which is where they have been ever since. In the mainstream. Now and then, though, the currents of life push them toward the shore. Consider what happened last month. As Catherine Horejes, Tommy's mother, tells the story, it began with a phone call on the Friday before Christmas. The caller was a woman from ACG Research Solutions in Clayton. "She wanted to know if we had anybody in the household between the ages of 15 and 25, and if that person ever wore jeans," said Catherine. The answers, of course, were yes and yes. The caller then explained that the organization was conducting a focus group on jeans later in the month. Two focus groups, actually. The first would try on some jeans and then discuss the jeans. The second group would involve more of a panel discussion. Participants in each group would be paid $50. "I said that the first would be better for Tommy because of his hearing impairment," Catherine said. A panel discussion could be difficult for a lip reader. No problem. The first group it would be. The caller also mentioned that because of the holidays, she was having a difficult time getting the groups together. Catherine mentioned that her son had some friends who would probably be glad to have a chance to earn $50. …

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