With a nickname like "Jaz," it's no wonder Jazlaya Haring has an ear for music.

Jaz hears the music, that she can't see. Jazlaya was born blind, but that never stopped this spunky, sweet young lady from doing anything.

"Really driven, really determined to win!" she says.

That doesn't mean it's easy. The Wilson West student recently found herself having to learn - like everybody else - on Zoom.

"My daughter did not respond well at first. Can you imagine being blind and trying to learn over Zoom? Not easy," says Brandi Haring, Jazlaya's mom.

Fortunately, there's been someone there to help show Jaz how not just get through all this, but to flourish in spite of it.

Anna Ackley knew she wanted to work with students like Jaz, after growing up with a sister who was visually impaired.

"These kids, they see you. They don't necessarily see with their eyes, but they see you as a person and that's life-changing," Mrs. Ackley says.

When students had to start learning from home, Mrs. Ackley went into overdrive.

She brailed out lessons, she developed programs specifically for Zoom for her visually impaired students, and visited them personally - and helped her parents get through a tough time.

"I have cried to her many times!" Brandi says. "She has shown up, we social distance outside, one sit at one table, one sit at another, just so they could communicate, just have a lesson."

This school year was certainly a bump in the road. But to Mrs. Ackley, bumps are just a way to better see what's in front of you.

"When a kid loves you and they've never seen who you are? That's just like so cool," she tells us.

She adds, "Being able to treat them as normal kids and them seeing themselves as a normal kid who just happens to be blind, that really makes me proud."

Nobody saw this pandemic coming. But Mrs. Ackley teaches her students, you don't necessarily need to see something to know what to do next.

"Parents need teachers. They are what drives these kids, they are what helps these kids learn and we need them, they are amazing," says Brandi.

Anna Ackley, our 69 News Golden Apple Award Winner, we thank you, for seeing the potential in every one of your students.

If you know someone at your school who deserves to honored with this award, please visit the Golden Apple page on our website, and fill out a nomination form.

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