‘She’s just an inspiration’: Huntington ISD instructor teaches courses, life lessons from experience with cerebral palsy

“She’s just an inspiration”: Huntington ISD instructor teaches courses, life lessons from experience

HUNTINGTON, Texas (KTRE) - Educators inspire many daily. That’s no different across East Texas school districts, including Huntington ISD, where one teacher is using her experience and knowledge to teach not only coursework, but also life lessons.

Her name is Katy Arnold, and she says she loves teaching.

“My main focus is English, but basically, I help my students in any course they’re working in whether it be chemistry, geometry, US history; any subject we have,” she said.

And she will tell you her passion for education is not limited by her cerebral palsy, which can affect a person’s movements, balance and posture. Arnold said she was diagnosed at nine months old.

“In my case, CP means my leg muscles are weaker than other people’s,” she said. “I just have to use my walker to get around. Usually, if I don’t have that, I’m holding onto whatever I can find. I’m pretty good at maneuvering around things.”

Arnold is in her sixth year of teaching at the P.R.I.D.E. Campus, where students can graduate early or earn credit if they lack coursework for their age or in danger of dropping out.

“I teach them to never give up on anything that they are doing,” she said. “They see what I can do, which is just about anything. I tell them if I can do it, they can do it, too.”

And while giving instructions for various courses, she’s teaching life lessons, too.

“That’s my big thing,” Arnold said. “That’s a huge thing for me. Anybody. I always tell them to ask. I’d rather them ask questions and get to know what it is than just stare and wonder. Anybody that asks me about my disability, I try to explain it doesn’t define who you are. It’s just a part of you and you can do anything you want to do despite your circumstances. Anyone they come in contact with that has a disability can do anything they want to do. It doesn’t limit them.”

Superintendent David Flowers said he knew Arnold would thrive as an educator ever since he was Arnold’s junior high and high school principal at another East Texas school district.

“She’s just an inspiration, and for us to bring her here, as an overcomer, she is so strong in her faith and what she’s accomplished,” Flowers said. “She just has a love for kids and a love for teaching.”

“To hear that I’m an inspiration is neat, but I don’t think of it that way,” Arnold said. “I just try to be the best example I can be.”

Arnold said she relies heavily on her faith. She also said that in her free time, she loves to also kickbox.

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