Stories of us: Altamont | Beecher City | Dieterich | Effingham | St. Anthony | Teutopolis

Giving Sight to Sound.

Evelyn Reynolds Effingham High School

There’s a thing in competitive volleyball, “Don’t let the ball hit the ground without a body hitting the ground with it.” It’s a nod to the commitment culture to which volleyball players enthusiastically subscribe. If you’ve ever watched a game, you’ll understand.

 

Evelyn Reynolds played competitive volleyball, and when she was diagnosed with a challenging heart condition at the age of 13, it was as if the ball had momentarily hit the ground, but she immediately got up and rallied around herself. A year earlier, Evelyn had been told by someone she trusted that she wouldn’t accomplish much, that her future wouldn’t be so bright. That person clearly misread Evelyn’s heart and the determination she possessed.

 

In the year following her diagnosis, Evelyn attended Camp Rhythm, a week-long get-away for kids with heart conditions put on by Children’s Hospital of St. Louis, Missouri. There, she made a friend who had an interest in ASL — American Sign Language. Evelyn was hooked, and empathically began to ponder the feeling of exclusion many in the deaf and hearing impaired community must feel. She decided then and there that this would be where she would make her dent in the world. 

 

Fast forward to her Senior year at Effingham High School, and Evelyn’s consideration of schools representing ‘best fit’ for her, where she could study ASL and thrive socially. She had looked at a few schools that offered ASL programming, but none that had an entire major devoted to it. Until she looked at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. She had no particular anxiety earlier in the spring of her Junior year in taking the SAT or the ACT and — as is her go-to pattern — Evelyn was prepared to simply persevere. Her application to William Woods was accepted and she begins there in the fall as a member of the class of ’25.

 

It’s hard to know where the paths we explore will ultimately lead. Much is still to be determined in Evelyn’s post-secondary journey. But she would very much like to make a difference in the lives of the hearing impaired and could easily see herself teaching ASL someday or even working as an ASL interpreter. One thing is for sure, contrary to an early prognosticator, with her commitment to perseverance and the pursuit of her passion, Evelyn’s future is very bright. Very bright, indeed.