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Deaf PSJA North athlete earns full-ride scholarship

Deaf PSJA North athlete earns full-ride scholarship
1 month 1 week 1 day ago Saturday, April 20 2024 Apr 20, 2024 April 20, 2024 7:28 PM April 20, 2024 in News - Local

PSJA North senior Jose Alanis is achieving heights his younger self didn't believe he ever could.

Alanis has sensorineural hearing loss in both ears, and he said he didn’t always feel included growing up deaf.

“I was different from everyone else. I was just at my lowest point when I was a child,” Alanis said. “People would always make fun of me 

Alanis’ mother, Odette, said she remembers those difficult moments.

“He got home one day, and he just threw his hearing aids at us and he said, ‘I don't want to be doing this… I don't want to be different I wanna be like everybody else,’” Odette said. 

Odette said she told her son, “You're not different. Nothing is wrong with you, you're not different, you’re just wearing hearing aids."

The feeling of being different lingered with Alanis in the classroom, and in the football field where Alanis said coaches viewed him as a liability.

“Coaches couldn't trust me, my teammates couldn't trust me. I had to work my butt off for that,” Alanis said.

Despite his disability, Alanis knew he wanted to play football, and joined the team at PSJA north high School.

“Football made me feel welcomed,” Alanis said.

The team’s defensive coordinator — Brett Esparza — helped Alanis feel welcomed, he said.

“We never even took it into account or thought it was a setback or anything that he was using a hearing aid,” Esparza said. “We just thought of working through it."

Over the years, Alanis became a part of a Raiders Squad that made program history, and brought state-wide attention to the Rio Grande Valley.

Now, Alanis has signed a letter of intent to play football and study criminal justice at Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.

“I felt good being with people like my own,” Alanis said. “They have a great program over there where they intern with the FBI, and everything really caught my attention."

Alanis says he's proud of the challenges he's overcome, and he wants other Valley kids with impairments to know their disability does not define them.

Watch the video above for the full story. 

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