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A student’s stutter doesn’t stop him from winning over the crowd

June 6, 2017 at 6:20 PM EDT
Trevor Acord hasn’t let a stutter stop him from being a leader and role model at his school. Communications Arts High School in San Antonio, Texas, produced this report as part of our Student Reporting Labs for our series Limitless.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we continue our series Limitless, stories filmed and edited by middle and high school students about people in their communities living with disabilities.

Tonight, we meet a teenager who worked through his speech impediment to become a gifted communicator and leader.

The video was produced by the Student Reporting Lab at Communications Arts High School in San Antonio, Texas.

WATCH MORE: Limitless: Breaking the Bounds of Disability

The student correspondent is graduating senior Alexandria Gonzalez.

ALEXANDRIA GONZALEZ: Trevor Acord seems to have it all. Although some students may have trouble being seen in high school, everyone knows who Trevor is.

His peers selected him as homecoming king and watched him be crowned as Mr. Taps in his school’s (INAUDIBLE) pageant.

He even has crowds of people, family and friends, cheering for him at his swim meets.

When Trevor was 3 years old, he was officially diagnosed with a speech impediment, also known as stuttering.

MARISSA MONTANO, Speech Language Pathologist: Stuttering is a communication disorder that is interrupted by disfluencies. We may sometimes see unusual facial movements or body movements that are associated with stuttering.

According to the Stuttering Foundation, there are about three million Americans who stutter, which is about 1 percent of the general population, and it is more common in males than females.

TREVOR ACORD, Communications Arts High School: Some of the downsides of having a stutter, though, for me is that, sometimes, it just makes it really hard to speak and to just really put yourself — and hard to just really sort of put yourself out there, because you’re afraid of what others will think.

But, with me, I love to speak, and I just love talking with all these people. So, I guess it seems sort of ironic that someone with a stutter would be going to a communications school.

SHELLIE MALIK, Teacher, Communications Arts High School: I think part of Trevor’s success has come because he is so comfortable with everybody here. He’s very involved in things, and so he’s used to everybody around him.

ALEXANDRIA GONZALEZ: Trevor is a proud member of the Peer Assistance and Leadership Program, otherwise known as PALS.

JAMES KING, PALS Coordinator, Taft High School: Watching him sprint down the track next to a special needs student really is where I think he shines. And that’s when he amazes me and all the PALS, for that matter.

ALEXANDRIA GONZALEZ: In addition to being a leader and role model to many at his school, Trevor has also been a great asset to the Communication Arts recruiting team.

LEANNA YOUNG, Vice Principal, Communications Arts High School: Trevor is the very, very best recruiter I have ever seen. He wins every crowd over within about 10 seconds. And he’s so sweet and so engaging that every middle school student just loves him and wants to listen to him, wants to be his friend, wants to talk to him.

TREVOR ACORD: I would say that me going to Comm Arts was probably one of the best things, because it just forced me to go and to speak and to just really put myself out there.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Oh, Trevor.

What an inspiring series this is.

And you can see more of these stories from young journalists across the country at studentreportinglabs.org.

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