LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Our student of the week is a bit of a social butterfly.

Faith VanDuinen is a junior at Lowell High School and can be found just at just about everything. The school said if an event happens, she’ll be there.

She participates in several activities at the school — including Science Olympiad and Women Up Club. She is a student ambassador and participates in school musicals and plays. The school just finished performing Matilda last week. She was in the ensemble.

School administrators also said she goes above and beyond in the classroom and is considered a leader.

VanDuinen was also born with hearing loss and has been wearing a hearing aid since she was 7 months old.

She felt a lot of shame and embarrassment around her disability until she was in eighth grade. 

VanDuinen said although the pandemic was a very isolating time, it also gave her time to accept her differences and become content with herself.

Her mindset changed when she reached high school, and she decided she would not let this disability define her.

“The thing I kept repeating to myself is if they can do it, I can do it too. I just realized I’m different, but I’m not that different. I can still do these things, and it doesn’t hurt to try taking things into my own hands,” she said. “Why am I afraid of this? If I don’t get in, I don’t get in. I can go back to my normal life. Everything else stays the same. But if I do get in, I get to try something new and meet new people. I get to tell people more of my story with my hearing aids. So I can encourage more people, hopefully.”

This year, VanDuninen spoke to the incoming freshman class and their parents to advise them on what to do in their high school experience.

She is also exceptional in science and knows she wants to study it in some form after high school. She hasn’t decided where that will be yet, though.