Class Act: Deaf Fort Worth student makes all district choir

FORT WORTH — Olivia Gioe is our Class Act of the Week and a singer at heart, who lets her passion and determination flow through her music--even if she can’t hear it herself.

Olivia is in the eighth grade at Trinity Springs Middle School. She sings in the school’s choir and earned the first chair for Soprano 2 placement in the All-Region Choir. Also performing in show choir, she moves to the rhythms and beats of the songs. With all of that, you would never guess that Olivia is completely deaf.

“Music is what keeps me going, usually, if things get hard that’s what I do,” Olivia said. “I sit down and I play my piano or I sing my mom a song. I do something along the lines of that, a good way to relieve stress and beat everything that I go through.”

Her deafness means she has to put in far more work than the average student.

“When I learn music, I go through and sit there for hours, listening to same 20 seconds just to know when to come in and when to stop singing,” she explained.

Olivia lost her hearing as a child because of a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This disorder also means she struggles with chronic pain, which can make the dancing of show choir difficult, but she pushes through.

“What she accomplishes in the choir room is unique and quite incredible,” the school’s choir director, Clinton Hardy, said. “Because I have never come across an individual who could sing who was deaf.”

With all music has done for her, Olivia plans on giving back. She says she wants to become a music therapist one day and help others find their strength through song.

“Don’t ever give up,” Olivia said. “There’s people who do end up giving up and it doesn’t do any good for them. If you push through and support yourself and other people support you, you’re going to be OK. There’s going to be times where you don’t want to do it. It was all worth it when I was sitting down in my region chair and they had said my name as first chair. It was all worth it.”

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