Like many high school seniors, Alexis Cedillo is preparing for the next step in his life. He is completing his high school credits, preparing to take the SAT and has already taken a college tour. Learning how to navigate his new life once he graduates from Duncanville High School, however, will take some extra work for Alexis because he is blind.
“I don’t know how other people do it,” Alexis said. “I just know how I do it.”
Alexis, who has been blind since birth, has learned many skills during his years in Duncanville ISD that will help him live independently. Vision impairment teacher Cynthia Carter has worked with Alexis since the seventh grade. She tells him frequently that his cane must become his eyes when he needs to figure out where he’s going.
“It’s like walking around in the dark swinging a stick in front of you,” Alexis said. “You get used to it after you’ve spent 17 years doing it.”
On October 15, people with visual impairments from around the area will travel to downtown Dallas to meet up for ‘White Cane Day.’ Teachers from Duncanville ISD, who are sighted, are escorting a group of students to Dallas for this year’s event.
The field trip also has a lesson built in – how to navigate public transportation like the bus and the train to travel to the same places as people who can see.
“She’s always pushing me to be more independent,” Alexis said. “She wants me to do everything for myself.”
Ms. Carter uses the annual trip to Dallas to prepare Alexis for college next year when he won’t have her around. He is planning to attend the University of North Texas.
“It will really be Alexis and his cane and his skills that we have taught him here,” Ms. Carter said.
Will he miss having Ms. Carter around?
“Sure, she’s a great person,” Alexis said. But then he added, “I don’t like being reliant on people.”
Alexis will be Ms. Carter’s third student with a visual impairment to go to college. He made her promise not to retire until he graduated and she expects him to fulfill his end of the deal by furthering his education.
“We’ve had a lot of great times together,” Ms. Carter said. “I will be very happy and proud that he is going toward his goal in life.”