Page 6- The Michigan Daily -Weekend etc. - November 5, 1992
most likely toSUCCEED
When voting for The Student Most Likely to Succeed, Jeff Skaggs
was the only senior at Beaverton High to write "Me!"
Before his accident, success meant graduating high school with
a G.P.A. of 1.1, joining the army, and eventually working in a
factory. But since he broke his neck diving into a river when he was
16, success for Jeff means college and eventually a law degree.
Every day, Jeff faces challenges as a student and as a quadriplegic
with paralyzed legs and minimal hand and arm movement. In the
morning, he shaves by balancing an electric razor between his hands.
"The physical part is only one tenth of everything ... You have to
rethink, ask yourself, 'How can I do with what I've got?"' Jeff lets
his dog "take (him) for a walk" before riding the AATA special
service public bus into campus.
In class, Jeff receives help from volunteer notetakers and profes-
sors as he works towards his General Degree which he will receive
in December. "There's an inner pride" you have to come to terms
with before "asking someone to help you ... You might be able to do
something on your own, but it would take so much time and energy."
Although he needs assistance sometimes, Jeff is not helpless. He
has learned to write and type on computers by securing a pencil into
the arm brace he wears. While professors often give him extra time
to complete assignments, his cumbersome method makes it difficult
to compete with other students.
After classes Jeff experiments with new computer programs for
disabled students. He is wor-
ried about the new university
policy that will dismiss the
staff currently working at
computer centers. If every-
one leaves the room and the
doors only open when stu-
dents pass their IDs through
the slot, "How can I get out? I don't think that anyone thought about
people with disabilities when they made these changes."
At the end of the day, Jeff waits for the bus to bring him home. A
few people walk by and look away. "You can tell the people who feel
sorry for you. They don't confront you. They just look at you and
move on ... They look at you and say 'God, I wonder what happened
to him.' But they won't ask me ... I'd like to make people aware that
we're not all that different."
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