Amanda Elementary student Breanah McNutt’s ears perked up, sizing up the empty classroom she had just entered.
The third-grader then made her way gingerly, taking a comfortable seat.
Soon after, a visitor walked into the Middletown school classroom.
The woman wore jewelry bands on one wrist and they tinkled in barely audible fashion.
“Are you wearing a bracelet?” Breanah asked.
The woman confirmed what Breanah already knew but could not see since the 9-year-old has been blind from birth.
“I like charm bracelets,” she said reaching out to meet the woman’s extended arm.
The seemingly ordinary exchange took place during another extraordinary school day for the Middletown Schools student who inspires many by doing what is normal to her.
“She sees with her ears,” said her grandmother Gail McNutt, who stopped in at Amanda to visit Breanah.
And by touch.
The visitor’s charm bracelet is quickly enveloped by the girl’s hands, her fingers deftly caressing the jewelry’s engravings and shapes.
Blind from birth, Breanah also handles her school day challenges as efficiently.
She can make her way around the sprawling Amanda school’s many building wings with a walking cane. And, if needed, a helpful adult or classmate are always nearby.
Friday found her with third-grade teacher Kirby Leitschuh going over a personalized lesson done on a work sheet in braille. Breanah’s fingers eagerly press down on the lesson as she spells out words.
“Breanah is such an amazing student,” said Leitschuh. “She is so energetic and creative and just all around amazing.”
“She is such a hard worker and will never give up. No matter what obstacles are in her way, she will overcome them. And to her classmates she is a role model,” she said.
“They (classmates) are all aware of her disability and she is definitely an inspiration to them,” she said.
Breanah describes maneuvering through school as “not very bad.”
“My cane goes in front of me and I sweep it (back and forth) so if I run into somebody, my cane might hurt them a little but not me, I’m not going to run into them,” she said.
“I started when I was in kindergarten here and it took me about a year to learn,” she said smiling. “This school is not very big.”