The following article is reprinted with permission from the January, 1993, issue of The Daily Olympian.
A Bright Futureby Brian Rainville
Timberline High School junior Randy Hammer loves to answer questions.
During the past two years, he's made three trips to area middle schools to speak about goal-setting. And at each school he has looked forward to the question-and-answer period following his talk.
"I like the adrenaline rush that comes when you're out on the floor. But what I like most is, I like to talk to people and get feedback," said Hammer, 16.
Inevitably, people ask him what it's like to be blind.
"A lot of people ask, but I don't care. I've been this way all my life, so I don't know anything different," he said. "People ask me a lot about the challenges I to go through and I don't know. They aren't challenges to me. I don't know what being sighted is, so I don't know what challenges I'm meeting."
Hammer, who was born blind, is one of Timberline's top juniors. Currently, he has a grade point average hovering around 3.9 and a schedule of tough classes.
"Randy is just a gem of a student that I think every teacher in every school would love to have," said Dick Kistler, Hammer's chemistry teacher. "He's enthusiastic and makes an honest effort to understand. And he's not afraid to share his knowledge with his classmates. That's the kind of student we all want."
And Hammer is not taking just tough classes. He's competed on the wrestling team, and is a competitor on the "Academic Decathlon" team couched by Kistler.
"(Academic Decathlon) takes a mental discipline that Randy has," Kistler said. "He has that real desire to learn just for the sake of learning."
Hammer's not trying to prove anything to anybody but himself.
"It's about honor, and I have a lot of respect for myself," he said. "When you get out of high school and say you got an A in sophomore English, that doesn't mean anything. Who cares? But for me, to say to myself that I got a 3.9 grade point average in high school and graduated in the top ten, that's honorable. It's a goal I've set for myself, and I'm going to meet it."
"Randy's an inspiration to all of us, students and faculty alike," said Brian Rae, vice-principal at Timberline High School. "He doesn't hesitate to take on academic and co-curriculum activities that others choose not to take on. He doesn't let anything stand in his way."