Looking forward

Senior makes plans to attend college


Photo by Carli Sharp

In her choir class, senior Emily Orr works with teacher Vickie Al-Dubais. Orr plans to attend Texarkana College after graduation.

Story by Taylor Potter, co-editor in chief

For her, high school isn’t the end of the road. No, high school has only been part of her journey. The hours spent cooking, checking out social media and vacationing in Colorado during high school were great. The hours spent recovering and overcoming were hard. But it’s all in the past. Now, it is time to look to the future. And for her, that means getting set for college.

Senior Emily Orr was born with cerebral palsy, which came as a result of the umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck four times. Her brain lost oxygen during the birth process.

“Cerebral palsy doesn’t shorten my life span, and my condition will not get worse,” Orr said. “I can’t walk or use one of my arms.”

But despite her hardships, Orr has been focused on going to college to study graphic design and where she will work afterward.

“I plan to go to Texarkana College,” Orr said. “I want to work for my dad at Orr Chevrolet and my mom at Four States Living Magazine.”

Throughout her high school career, Orr has managed to keep a positive outlook. But there have been some disheartening and difficult times.

“I had surgery on my arm that doesn’t really work,” Orr said. “They broke my right arm, put pins and a plate in and I was in a cast for a long time. It bothered me all the time. I had to take medicine constantly for the pain.”

But she wouldn’t have been able to overcome her challenges if it weren’t for the help of two important people in her life.

“My mom works hard to make my life better,” Orr said. “My aide, Ms. Miller, has helped me do so many things that I can’t do alone. She is a great woman and she cares about me and takes care of me.”

The help her aide, Vivian Miller, has provided won’t stop after high school. She plans to continue assisting Orr through college.

“I hope Ms. Miller will always be a part of my life,” Orr said. “I know she will have a good impact on me in the future.”

In addition to the support from her family and her aide, Emily will be getting a new type of help through a service dog in July.

“I really look forward to getting my assistance dog, Miss Pip,” Orr said. “I feel like it’s going to help me a lot to be more independent and keep me going.”

Having overcome so many challenges of her own, Orr offers advice to others who may also be dealing with serious problems.

“Keep your head up and do what you can to stay out of trouble,” Orr said. “Be positive because some people have it a lot harder than you do.”