Senior refuses to let limitation hinder education, performances

Performing on-stage can be intimidating for any actor, but when that performance is complicated by another challenge, it can be even more so. Senior Trey Weltens takes it all in stride and has worked through his high school years to perfect his craft despite the difficulties he has faced because of hearing loss.

Trey has endured 17 surgeries during his life on his ears, and the ear that suffered hearing loss since birth has only gotten worse as doctors have attempted to repair it.

“I primarily had one bad ear since I was born,” Trey said. “This summer I busted my other ear drum and now have two really awful ears. It’s in the process of healing, but it’s been much harder to try to adjust this school year.”

Trey sits in the front during all of his classes to help him pay attention and not miss any important information. His personal difficulties have also influenced how he sees others.

“My hearing loss has made me more aware of what others go through,” Trey said. “Any sort of disability can complicate life,  and it is important to give them help and encouragement.”

Senior Evan Pope has worked with Trey in theatre for the past five years and has seen him grow as a student and a performer.

“Trey has one of the most brilliant minds in this school,” Evan said. “He will go far with whatever he wants to do, especially academically.”

Trey feels somewhat affected in theatre by his hearing loss but can always find a way around it. 

“In order to know my line, I’ve gotten to know the line of the person who spoke before me,” Trey said. “Sometimes I just can’t hear, so I tell them they’ve got to do some physical motion so that I know when to say my line.”

Trey’s theatre teacher Jacob Justice recognizes Trey’s work ethic and his ability to find joy in everything he does.

“Trey’s a great student,” Justice said. “He always finds the fun in what we are doing and he’s never defeated by anything. I think he worries about his hearing loss sometimes, but he works harder so that if he can’t hear them he’s watching their body language to know when he’s supposed to come in.”

Other actors agree that Trey works to make up for his hearing loss.

“The only time I’ve really noticed his hearing loss impact him whenever he’s having a one on one conversation or a group conversation” Evan said. “If we are in a loud area, he might have to ask you to repeat something, but other than that, he seems unaffected by it.”

Trey encourages others not to stand alone, but to be open to the idea of help and encouragement from others. 

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help because there are people who want to help you.” Trey said. “I have trouble myself asking for help because I want to do everything myself I’m very independent. But you can’t do everything by yourself, and it’s important to realize that.”

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