Kiley Heizer was a student in a traditional classroom at East Valley High School until the COVID-19 outbreak brought everyone online – and that’s where she found its place to flourish.
When given the opportunity to return to in-person learning, she signed up for EV’s online learning program — and took off.
“I work at my own pace and learn in one day what used to take a whole week to do, and I don’t get bored,” she says.
The 3.9 GPA student, who will serve as class valedictorian, jumped straight in with advanced online placement and distinction courses, is a Running Start student at Spokane Falls Community College and will transfer to Eastern Washington University this fall to earn a diploma in special education. on a full scholarship.
As with her current school journey, she also plans to take her EWU classes online and is considering a career as a teacher of children with special needs.
She has focused on education since she was a child. She remembers always trying to help her classmates, especially a girl with Down syndrome back in first grade. “It seemed like I was the only one who could help him calm down, and I felt like maybe I had a special ability to do that.”
Heizer lives in Liberty Lake with his mother, who helps adults overcome addiction, and his two younger siblings, ages 9 and 7, who both have special needs, one with autism and sensory processing disorder and the other severe attention deficit disorder.
Because his mother works long hours, Heizer gets his brother and sister up in the morning, drives them to school, picks them up, cooks their dinner and cleans. She does it with pleasure, she says, and is committed to their well-being and success.
In addition, she has a babysitting job during the school day for two other children.
She, too, has her own issues to deal with — anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder — which she manages with self-regulation, medication, making time for herself, and sticking to a schedule. His philosophy is to dance in the rain, to continue while waiting for the moment to pass.
She will smile as she talks about how she loved to play as a child. She didn’t so much play with her toys as she organized them. Her favorite toys were Ziploc bags, which helped her “organize her things.”
She is drawn to the organizational structure of education and its order, but most importantly how it allows her to help people. She’s not particularly interested in traditional college campus experiences or travel, though she finds time to hang out with friends, ride 4x4s, and collect rocks and bugs.
But above all, she prefers to help children learn to do something, to help them do everything they can do in life.