May 5, 2016
By Elizabeth Waugh
In the spring of 1997 in Grenada, Mississippi, Chantesia Steen entered the world. There were no complications at her birth or any other signs that would cause concern. She was a happy and healthy baby.
It was not until the day she was going home with her family that her doctor approached her mother to say that Chantesia did not pass her hearing test. He assured her this was common and that most babies passed after being retested.
After two months of testing across different cities in Mississippi, her mom received a phone call confirming that Chantesia was deaf. By the time she reached three months of age, she was fitted with tubes and hearing aids. The family noticed that these interventions were not enough and by the age of 4, Chantesia got her cochlear implant and started attending a boys and girl club that served as a hearing center in Nebraska.
In 2006, Chantesia and her family moved to Texas. As a student with an auditory impairment, Chantesia was eligible to be bused in from her home school district to attend North East ISD’s Auditory Impairment program.
Upon entering high school, Chantesia became eligible to compete in Special Olympics. It was a whole new world of opportunity for a young athletic girl that never let anything or anyone hold her back.
She immediately started with bowling and then quickly added basketball and track to her resume.
During school practices and competitions Chantesia is assisted in her communication with interpreters.
After three successful years of competing in Special Olympics, Chantesia is now a senior preparing for graduation and new challenges.
Having always been an exceptional track athlete Chantesia competed in local meets in the 200 meter run and running long jump events.
Seeing her potential, she was offered to train this year for a pentathlon.
Chantesia’s dedication and determination in everything she does ensured that she was up for the challenge.
After months of training, she will compete in her first area competition in the pentathlon and team relay this weekend at Area 20's Spring Games.
Chantesia’s silliness and desire to keep those around her happy and laughing is one of the many things that make her so special to her family and teammates.