Stevie Wonder Honors Oxnard Teen - Junior Blind - Junior Blind of

Gregory Howard | Download | HTML Embed
  • Feb 4, 2015
  • Views: 15
  • Page(s): 2
  • Size: 334.82 kB
  • Report



1 Stevie Wonder honors Oxnard teen Anne Kallas | January 27, 2015 OXNARD, Calif. - Whether playing the bassoon, trumpet, trombone or piano, Maya Johnson loves music. And last month, the Oxnard 17-year-old met musician Stevie Wonder, who gave the teen the second Stevie Wonder Star Student Award at the Junior Blind of America holiday carnival in Los Angeles. We sat around, and even though he had an entourage, we just hung out and chilled out and told stories, Johnson said. It was really casual, which was nice. Hes just another person. Johnsons vision has been limited since birth. She was born with cataracts so severe that they required surgery when she was 2 months old. She couldnt see through them at all, said Johnsons mother, Leonor Vasquez, who said the resulting scar tissue and Johnsons small pupils required more operations; she also has developed glaucoma. She has no lens in either eye, Vasquez said. But Johnson said she doesnt let her vision issues affect her too much. Although she has lost the vision in her right eye and the vision in her left eye is limited, she eschews using a white cane unless its nighttime or she is in a large crowd. I have a giant computer for school and I get my books on flash drive and can blow them up as big as I want to, she said. She has been attending Junior Blind of America camps in the Los Angeles area since she was 5 years old. (Continued)

2 Junior Blind of America is an organization to provide helpful services to the blind or visually impaired, Johnson said. They offer transition programs and adaptive technology and provide mobility training. Johnson was introduced to music by Mario Boccali, the band director at Cabrillo Middle School in Ventura. He brought in various professionals who played instruments for the children. When the bassoon player played, I thought, That looks rad! and I started playing bassoon, Johnson said. Now she plays bassoon with the Pacifica High School symphonic band and trumpet with the marching band. The bassoon is a little too big for marching, she said. But her passion is musical theater. I love to be on stage singing, acting and dancing. I never have any problems in shows, Johnson said, noting that the careful choreography required of stage productions takes a lot of the challenge out of being on stage. In fact, shes hoping to be cast in the schools spring production of Chicago. Im in my senior year, and I hope I get a good part, Johnson said. Vasquez said she worries about her daughter eventually leaving for college. There is the potential that she will lose what vision she has, Vasquez said. Johnson said she plans to attend Ventura College at first, as she pursues her passion for theater. Johnson said her parents, who are divorced, have provided the perfect balance for her and her brother, Kenney Johnson, 20, who has a neuromuscular disorder. She said her father, Sean Johnson, pushes her to do as much as she can independently. Hes an athlete and a teacher and he makes us try our best, she said. My parents are a mix of the strong push from my dad and the gentle push from my mom. She said she was especially excited about receiving the Stevie Wonder award Dec. 13 because her close friend, Brittany Richardson, a student at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, was the first recipient. Blind kids do a lot, she said. Featured in the Ventura County Star online at Junior Blind of America 5300 Angeles Vista Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 295-4555

Load More