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Expressions earn student national award

November 19, 2010

Post & Mail photo/Becky Hand — Kalika Lacy of Columbia City shows one of the expressions she used in her artwork, which won her first place in a national contest.

It’s been said that when one of the senses is diminished, the others will compensate. In some cases, far exceeding the capabilities for those whose senses are not impaired.
Such would appear to be the case with Kalika Lacy, an 11-year-old student at Indian Springs Middle School.
Born completely deaf in China, Kalika was adopted and brought to Columbia City at the age of four by her parents Barbara White and Paul Lacy.
Her only memory of China is of swimming in a pool. When her parents came to get her, they stayed with a group of people who were adopting children in a hotel with a swimming pool. Seeing the other children jump in the pool, Kalika did as well, and immediately sank to the bottom. Her new mom saved her from drowning and they brought her to the U.S. to start a new life.
Soon after arriving here, Kalika was fitted with a cochlear implant which has contributed to her being able to speak a bit and to hear some of what goes on around her, but when she removes the external part of the implant, she loses all hearing.
This came in handy one day at school when a beeping noise was bothering her. She just took off the outer part of the implant and was able to continue working.
Kalika has shown promise in art according to her art teacher, Mary Hilger, who helped Kalika enter in the Sorenson Communications’ Young Artists Contest. The contest is for students with diminished hearing to enter their artwork for consideration for prizes.
“I gave her a little bit of help and she ran with it,” Hilger said.
Kalika began with photography as her medium, taking pictures of her own face with different expressions. These were converted to drawings and enhanced with a computer program. All this completed in two weeks.
“It was always her idea,” Hilger said, “she knew what she wanted. There is so much determination in her.”
She had a very personal reason for choosing her subject.
“Facial expressions are very important when telling a story,” Kalika signed. “And important for American Sign Language.”
Her interpreter and sister, Holly Lents explained that it is the difference between reading a message from someone and seeing their face when they tell it. The meaning could be interpreted very differently when the person’s facial expressions accompany the words.
Kalika entered her artwork in the Utah -based company’s contest and was awarded first prize for her age group and flew to Utah Thursday to accept the prize of an iPod Touch, made by Sorenson, which allows callers to see each other. This allows people with hearing impairments to use sign language to communicate.
Asked if she wants to pursue a career in art, Kalika smiled and signed that she wants to be an engineer like her mom, then thought maybe a hairstylist, but will keep up with her artwork in the form of scrapbooking, perhaps.
Whatever she chooses, Kalika is bound to excel.
“She is far beyond her years,” Hilger said.
Post & Mail photo/Becky Hand
Kalika Lacy of Columbia City showed some of the expressions she used in her artwork, which won her first place in the National Sorenson Communications’ Young Artist Contest.

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