WILSONVILLE, OR (KPTV) –  The high school years are about growth and maturity, and also a whole lot of fun and accomplishment. 

Fast times at Wilsonville High, from a freshman who wanted to quit school four years ago, let alone compete in athletics, senior para-athlete Kayla Bolnick has found her voice and drive along Wildcat Way.

“If you would have told me freshman year that I would be the person I am today, I would have laughed so hard at you,” Bolnick said.

Not a joke, this is real life. Born with spina bifida and a learning disability, the 18-year-old Wilsonville senior is on the proper path to graduation and higher learning.

“Insane. It went way too fast. I didn’t fail any classes either,” Bolnick laughed.

Not a failure, ever. Bolnick is a winner, a true leader and pillar of community. She was recently honored with the National High School Spirit of Sport Award. 

“I was very shocked. I am always shocked with all of my awards but this one especially because it’s nationally and that is huge and there are only nine people that got it, which is a really big deal,” she said.

A big deal in cross country to swim to track.

The seasons keep changing along with the strong teen who continues to chase down her confidence and trickle down her knowledge to a younger generation by mentoring elementary kids with disabilities who’d like to try sports.

“I’ve just found that I really like helping kids,” Bolnick said. “Before, it was my passion but now I want to live that life.”

Her next marker in life will be at Clackamas Community College then hopefully to study special education at Oregon State in Corvallis.

“I went to the campus this year and I just fell in love. It’s just meant to be,” Bolnick said.

From the straight-away to the runway – Bolnick is cracked out of her shell before Easter in Nevada, serving as a Zappos model for adaptive clothing.

“I’ve never seen myself modeling or anything, so doing it was so much fun,” she said. 

The magic fun of Hayward Field is under construction, so the state meet will move to Mt. Hood Community College as Bolnick continues to be one of the leading voices in further inclusion in all OSAA events. 

“All of the events need to be open for para-athletes,” she said. “We can do them all. We really can. We may do it differently, but we can do it. We just have to adapt and that’s growing up.” 

It’s all rapidly winding down to now, with state on Memorial Day weekend and graduation the first week of June.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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