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Deaf Broken Arrow Student Succeeds In Marching Band

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Broken Arrow senior Brooke Hendricks lost her hearing as a young child. Broken Arrow senior Brooke Hendricks lost her hearing as a young child.
Brooke, who has always been encouraged to go after her dreams, is a successful member of a renown marching band. Brooke, who has always been encouraged to go after her dreams, is a successful member of a renown marching band.
The band is currently participating in a national championship. The band is currently participating in a national championship.
Brooke said with the help of an interpreter on field and practice, she is able to feel the music. Brooke said with the help of an interpreter on field and practice, she is able to feel the music.

By Craig Day, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- The Owasso and Broken Arrow bands are on their way to Indianapolis right now where they will compete in a huge event this weekend. The Bands of America Grand Nationals will feature around 80 of the best bands from across the country.

It's a great opportunity for the young musicians and color guard members. One of the teens making the trip is an inspiration to many of the people who know her.

The Pride of Broken Arrow marching band is one of the most successful bands in the nation, 254 students strong. Musicians and color guard performs work together as one.

Watching the artistic and colorful blend of music and marching, you would never notice one student is unique.  One student is an inspiration.

"We probably take it for granted the challenges that she faces, but she does so well,” said Broken Arrow Band Director Darrin Davis. “She's just brilliant at how she performs."

Brooke Hendricks is a senior at Broken Arrow high school, with plans to go to college next fall. She says she'll miss being a member of the color guard.

Brooke is that unique member of the Pride of Broken Arrow – because she is deaf.

"Well, you know I saw the flyer and it said color guard tryouts, and I thought well, I'll just try that,” said senior color guard member Brooke Hendricks. “I didn't expect to make it, but I did."

Not only did she make it, but in a competitive band where everything - the marching, the choreography, the flags - revolves around sound, she's flourished.

"Think about an auditory activity, and she can produce inside of that, is really just remarkable," Band Director Darrin Davis said.

"I can't really say that I ever felt that there was any major obstacle,” Brooke said. “I've always felt like I can do anything and anything I set my mind to do. I know that I can do it."

She just does it a little differently, by getting signs from an interpreter and cues from conductors. 

"First of course, I'm watching the interpreter for the count and I also have to memorize the counts,” Brooke said. “I practice a lot, and after practice I can just kind of feel it." 

Brooke was a little girl when she lost her hearing. From an early age she was told to not let being different become a deterrent to success.

"You can do anything you set your mind to, and we've always encouraged her to do that,” said Angie Dixon, Brooke’s mom. “And I think it shows."

"I don't know that she ever has a bad day, she always has a smile and she has a great attitude," said Darrin Davis, BA band director.

So in a world without sound, she's found success, and replaced a disability with determination.

"Well, I say live your dreams. Don't live with can't, that word can't. Live with your dreams. Do whatever you can, and you will be a success," Brooke said.

Brooke plans to attend college next year in Minnesota and wants to become a youth minister.

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