Ever since Becky was diagnosed with Stickler Syndrome, a disease that has slowly taken away her hearing and eyesight, Girl Scouting has been right there with her.
At first, doctors insisted that she attend a school for the deaf, but her parents refused to remove her from Westside Christian, a private school, where she was currently attending…and thriving.
“We didn’t think there was ever any reason for her to leave her friends and school. She was doing just fine in kindergarten, so what was going to change that? We never had any doubt in her abilities,” said Wendy Sieruga, Becky’s mom.
Fully aware of her condition, Becky began to learned ASL and prepare for a life that might one day place her in the blind and deaf community.
“As I learned ASL and got more involved in the deaf community, I realized that there is a lack of knowledge and understanding by outsiders of the hardships faced by the deaf,” said Becky.
This is what prompted her to focus a Gold Award on educating the public and increasing awareness about communication. Over the course of a year, and more than 100 hours of work, she completed her Gold Award project – What Do You Hear?– by creating a program that is very dear to her heart. Her project included teaching an ASL (American Sign Language) class at her former elementary, Westside Christian School, teaching ASL to younger girls in her troop to use as part of their Bronze Award project, and translating two books into sign language before sharing these videos on Youtube.
Despite the mounting challenges due to her genetic condition, she has continued to thrive. She attributes her success to three pillars of strength: her faith, her parents and Girl Scouting. Becky said, “My faith has been big motivation, it brings me joy to see how I can help others. My parents and Girl Scouts have given me a chance to test my abilities, prove my strength and endurance in the face of adversity…I am a driven leader who does the best she can against the odds.”
And how does she feel about her parent’s decision to leave her in Westside Christian, instead of attending a deaf school?
“I’m really happy where I am,” said Becky, now a Junior at Arrowhead Christian Academy in Redlands. “I know that my parents gave me the chance to meet others outside of the deaf community and at least now I can understand life in both worlds.”
Becky is a straight-A honors student who serves on her school’s mock trial team. She is a member of Girl Scout Troop 970 and on the Spiritual Life/Worship Team at Arrowhead Christian Academy. She has now completed her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards and continues to be on a leadership team for younger Girl Scouts. She dreams of attending Duke University, where there is a prominent deaf community, after high school and continuing her studies. She loves science and would like to go into forensics.
The Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio is proud to call Becky a member of the family, a young woman of true courage, confidence and character who has already begun to make the world a better place.
Added her mom, Wendy, “I’m proud. She’s compassionate, driven and she’ll succeed in whatever she tries to do. I am so very proud.”