Anyone who has ever been told they will never be something or achieve something should tell their doubters to learn the story of Sophia Reynolds. She and her grandmother, Vickie Reynolds, are shining examples of something special, the human spirit, which fuels a drive to overcome and succeed.

Sophia was born with auditory neuropathy, a condition in which sounds can be heard but become jumbled when they are processed in the brain. Early on, she struggled to learn basic communication skills.

Five years ago, when she was 11, Sophia’s teachers at a state school for deaf children deemed her unteachable, unreachable and probably suffering from an intellectual disability.

Vickie Reynolds didn’t believe that. She believed her granddaughter was capable of much more, so she took it upon herself to prove it true.

The grandmother gained guardianship, enrolled Sophia in public school where she was provided a sign language interpreter and secured an after-school tutor to help her catch up academically. That took time and hard work, but Sophia is now at the same educational level as her peers.

Vickie Reynolds also tended to Sophia’s social skills, enrolling her in after-school activities such as swimming, tennis and dance classes. That required some time for Sophia to adjust, but she became more comfortable.

The result of the new opportunities, the hard work and the pushing was that Sophia blossomed. Now 16, she is an honor student at Columbus East High School, is active in dance classes and performances at Dance by Design and loves art.

Sophia will begin her junior year of high school in August, and plans to continue her technical education by taking an introductory robotics class.

Her future is bright.

Her story is an inspiration for us all.

We all faces obstacles and challenges in life, and some are difficult. But to tell someone they will never be something or achieve something because they aren’t smart enough or strong enough or capable enough can be a shortsighted statement. Sophia Reynolds is living proof.