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January 13, 2013

8-year-old girl waiting patiently for a gift of life



Classtime brings a sense of normalcy

Each day from 1 to 2 p.m., Katelyn has study time with Lindsay Waymouth, a Riley educational liaison and certified teacher.

Waymouth stays in touch with Katelyn’s teacher at Deming Elementary, Sandra Childress, who faxes homework and assignments. Robin Newell has brought all of Katelyn’s school books to Riley.

Waymouth tries to do what Katelyn would be doing at Deming “so it brings a sense of normalcy to her,” she said. “I think it gives her a purpose every day.”

Teacher and student are focusing on math, language arts and reading. “We try to keep up as much as possible,” Waymouth said, although they don’t push it if Katelyn doesn’t feel well.

“So far, we’ve gotten a lot done,” Waymouth said, adding that Katelyn is determined to keep up with her class and really motivated to continue to do well in school.

Waymouth describes Katelyn as “such a ray of sunshine. She smiles the whole session. We both crack up at each other.”

On Thursday, they worked on math flashcards, reading, a memory book and other activities. Katelyn’s bed was in an upward position, and occasionally she would put her little feet on the tray in front of her.

“Let’s put those toes down,” Waymouth said, but Katelyn would sneak them back up. Waymouth told Katelyn that when she earns five stickers, she will receive a surprise.

Katelyn was a little distracted by some visitors, and started adjusting the bed downward, and then back up.

Robin Newell tries to stay out of Katelyn’s room during classtime so the 8-year-old focuses on her studies.

“Mommy, come in,” Katelyn said assertively at one point.

“Are you going to be good?” Robin asked her daughter.

Justin Bieber has a presence in Katelyn’s room, too, courtesy of a large wall poster, to a life-size cardboard cutout, to a blanket on her bed with a large photo of the pop music superstar.

At the end of classtime, Waymouth let Katelyn use an iPad to play educational games, and then some not-so-educational ones, including Power Rangers and a bubble popping game.

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