BHSU special ed student receives inaugural scholarship from Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, August 6, 2015/Categories: 2015








           BHSU physical and special education major Katherine Drake of Castle Rock, Colo., (second from left) accepts a $1,000 scholarship from the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation. Drake was inspired to pursue a career in special education by her aunt, who was diagnosed with an intellectual disability and cerebral palsy.



Black Hills State University physical and special education major from Castle Rock, Colo., Katherine Drake, will continue to inspire others through her work with special needs children thanks to a scholarship from the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation.

Drake says helping to care for her aunt who was diagnosed with an intellectual disability and cerebral palsy motivated her to pursue a career in special education.

"It&rsquos more than just helping students achieve academically. Special education teachers give students the independence to learn and interpret their surroundings in a way they can easily understand," said Drake.

Drake&rsquos scholarship is the first the Foundation has awarded. The scholarship will be given annually to a senior majoring in special education at BHSU in honor of Kenadi Jean Weis. Kenadi suffered an anoxic brain injury at birth resulting in challenges to her communication, health and movement. She passed away in March at the age of five.

Kenadi&rsquos family say they were inspired to reach out to BHSU special education students with the scholarship because of the great impact of teachers on Kenadi&rsquos growth, an impact they&rsquore certain Drake will make in the profession.

"Katherine&rsquos writing in her application speaks of a profession that allows her to make a positive impact on people&rsquos daily lives and be a voice for those who have none," said Kelly Weis, mother of Kenadi and president of the Foundation. "The Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation is honored to make a contribution toward Katherine&rsquos dream for her future endeavors."

As a former BHSU Yellow Jacket basketball and softball player, Katherine plans to use her double major in physical and special education to provide students an optimal learning experience. She wants to create an adaptive physical education program or start a fitness center where individuals with disabilities can exercise based on their specific needs.

"When I help a student achieve things far beyond what they ever dreamed possible, I feel like I can fly!" said Drake. "I am thankful to work with these students and be involved in this community for the rest of my life."

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