Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Miss Deaf Utah on her way to fulfilling dreams

Source Link - Miss Deaf Utah on her way to fulfilling dreams

Natisha Luke believes in the positive nature of life, something she credits to her Mormon upbringing.

"I try to focus on my abilities rather than my disability," she said.

Although she lost her hearing as a newborn because of an ear infection, she hasn't let it stop her from achieving her dreams.

Luke is a certified phlebotomist. She dances, signs, works as a cashier at Home Depot and is engaged to be married.

She's also the new Miss Deaf Utah for 2009.

The 19-year-old competed last month in Riverton, Utah, winning not only the crown, but "Miss Photogenic" and "Best Evening Gown" recognition. This month, she'll be in Philadelphia to compete for Miss Deaf America.

Luke is pretty excited -- and not just because she won a $2,000 scholarship.

"I wanted to join in only because it would open so many doors for me, and it's a life experience," she said. "Also it would help me to get closer to my goal which is go to nursing school. ... I have always had a passion for kids and child care and medical inquiries."

As a spokesperson for the deaf community, Luke believes she can more effectively share her message of hope.

"I really look forward to showing other young deaf girls how to be positive and just love themselves for who they are," she said.

Luke is a graduate of Pine View High School, the oldest of five siblings and a member of the Desert Hills Ward in St. George. The church has strongly influenced her decisions and outlook, she said.

"It helped me overcome many challenges with my hearing loss," Luke said. "My passion is to inspire others with the power of positive thinking. Through my example of always having a positive attitude, I know I can greatly influence or change a life of another."