Orange County School of the Arts

Angela Oyama: Conquering high school with cerebral palsy

High school is a journey filled with joys and trials for all. However, for recent Arcadia High School graduate Angela Oyama, this takes on a whole new meaning.

Angela was born with cerebral palsy (CP), a movement disorder caused by the permanent brain injuries that affect an infant during the time of birth or pregnancy. This leads to the loss of abilities to lead a normal life. Gross motor skills are affected, and children often use crutches or wheelchairs to move around.

Kids with spastic CP, the most common type of CP, can’t relax their muscles. In some cases, they have trouble speaking or can’t speak at all. CP can’t be cured, but steps such as neuro-muscular retraining and other physical therapies can be taken to help the child to start leading a normal life.

Angela attended Arcadia High School regularly despite her daily obstacles. She even took an AP course in Japanese, earning her a Foreign Language Award at graduation. Not only is she a hardworking student, but also according to her instructional assistant Debbie Morreale, she is a star among her friends with her bright smile and never-give-up attitude.

Jennifer Tseng, Angela’s mother, recalls what are perhaps Angela’s happiest moments: time well spent with her boyfriend Damian Davis whether at the movies, the turtle pond, or each and every high school dance. He spins her wheelchair in circles on the dance floor, making Angela the happiest girl in school.

Angela adores artists such as Cody Simpson, Shawn Mendes, and especially Justin Bieber. She considers herself a lifelong Belieber—her dream is to meet the Biebs himself. It is from his songs that she finds courage to never say never and dream big.

With support from loving family, friends, and teachers, Angela graduated with awards from high school and is continuing her educational journey at Citrus College. She hopes to become a translator with her skills in English, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Taiwanese.

Angela’s family founded CP CareNet, a non-profit organization that benefits Angela and other children with CP. Although their journey is full of challenges, hardships, and difficulties, they show great endurance and perseverance despite their physical disabilities. They maintain a regular schedule of physical and occupational therapy. It is not only a vigorous workout to accomplish normal everyday tasks, but also CP creates financial challenges. That is why CPCareNet was founded to financially aid those affected by CP.

To help Angela and other kids affected with Cerebral Palsy, please visit www.CPCareNet.org to donate and find out more.

 

Debbie Morale, reporter Cassandra Hsiao, Jennifer Tseng and Angela Oyama. Courtesy of Cassandra Hsiao.
Debbie Morale, reporter Cassandra Hsiao, Jennifer Tseng and Angela Oyama. Courtesy of Cassandra Hsiao.

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