Photo courtesy of Katie Sarver
Katie Sarver became the newest member of the Crowley High School Hall of Fame during the school’s graduation program on May 23 at Gardiner Memorial Stadium.
Sarver, 18, said she was “surprised/shocked” when CHS assistant principal Alton Allen made the announcement. “I was so in the moment and so honored to receive such an amazing honor,” she admitted. “I think I looked at my mom and dad (Christopher and Leslie Sarver) and then looked at the sky. I thought of my grandparents who passed away, how proud they must be of me! I wanted to thank God for blessing me with such a prestigious honor, but I must admit, I was like, ‘“Wow, did they really just say my name?’”
Sarver finished with a 3.94 grade-point average and ranked 9th in her class. She was a member of the ACT 23+ Club for one year and the National Honor Society for two years.
Sarver explained how she feels to be her class’s Hall of Fame representative. “(I’m) really honored and super proud,” she stated. “I’m still on cloud nine about it. It feels like such a dream to me. . . All I wanted to do was leave my mark/legacy on my school, and I did it in the best way there is!”
Sarver grew up a family of Crowley High alumni and supporters. Both her parents graduated from CHS and have been attending events and/or volunteering for many years. Her Polite and Monica Bertand, Sarver’s parrain and nanny, have also been involved in the CHS Backers since its inception.
“I’ve been going to sporting events since I was born. I remember going to school with my mom to pick up tickets and just being so mesmerized and obsessed with the atmosphere of Crowley High. I couldn’t wait to be a student here,” she admitted. “I guess you can say that I was Green and Gold from the start. My grandma even made me a CHS cheerleading outfit to wear to the football games when I was little because I loved CHS so much.”
Sarver was born with cerebral palsy (CP). According to https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/facts.html, “Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.”
She also explained that she’s had three surgeries related to her cerebral palsy. “I had a muscle release in 2006 because my legs couldn’t stretch out all the way,” stated Sarver.
“My first leg surgery in 2012 consisted of my orthopedist breaking my tibia and fibula bones and straightening them by inserting metal plates and screws,” she said.
The surgery was supposed to keep her feet from turning in when she walked. “I was off of school for 2-3 months following the surgery . . . I was in physical therapy twice a week to strengthen my muscles and bones.”
Sarver’s third surgery was in 2013. “(It) was a bit of a test for me and my faith,” she admitted. “At one of my monthly checkups, my orthopedist noticed that my left leg didn’t heal as well as my right leg did.” The orthopedic surgeon prescribed antibiotics because he thought the left leg was just infected.
When Sarver returned to her doctor a month later, she learned her leg wasn’t infected, and she would have to have another surgery. “I was devastated. I didn’t want to go through all that pain all over again,” she admitted. “I prayed to God and . . . asked lots of questions. My faith became stronger as I went through the surgery.”
Although she missed another two months of school and had to go back to physical therapy two times a week, the surgery was successful.
For now, she does not have any surgeries scheduled. “God has blessed me and always pulled me through whatever I had to go through and for that I am thankful,” she stated. “My family and friends are my biggest supporters, and I’m also thankful for that as well.”
Because she has CP, Sarver always had an aide to assist her in school. Vickie Istre has been her aide for the last seven years. “She’s been the best aide I’ve ever had and a blessing to me,” stressed Sarver. “I thank God for her every day; she’s my God-given Angel! She helped make me the woman I am today.”
Sarver admitted that their relationship has developed beyond school. “She’s my second mom. She’s part of my family now and always will be. I love her so much.”
Sarver thinks that trying to keep a positive attitude has helped her along the way. “Ms. Vickie Istre, my aide, taught me that if you have to do something every day or go somewhere, you might as well make it fun. You can’t always change your circumstances, and you can’t always control every situation or thing in your life. She taught me that,” she said. “She taught me to replace every negative thought with a positive thought, and that’s something I will always carry with me.
“My parents also taught me that nothing can ever stop me from being independent and that I can do anything I put my mind to. They taught me not to let anything stop me from getting what I want in life . . . My life is far from perfect, and I’m no saint, but with the support of a loving God, my family, and my friends, I can do anything I put my mind to and also get through any situation I need to.”
She believes that by receiving this recognition, people might see others with a disability differently. “A lot of people always think that whey they see me in a wheelchair, I’m severely handicapped or mentally disabled. They come up to my parents or myself and talk to me as if I’m 5. I’m not severely handicapped or mentally disabled. It’s just my physical abilities that are handicapped,” she stated.
“It shows that even though I’m in a wheelchair, I can still receive honors that non-handicapped people receive. It shows that I have the same chances as everyone else in life at achieving great things. I hope they see me, instead of my wheelchair. It shows that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it, no matter what!”
Sarver plans to study business at the Louisiana State University at Eunice for two years before she transfers to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to earn her Bachelor’s Degree. She would like to return to Crowley High in the future to teach business, and she also hopes to earn her own business one day.