Angela Botz

by Catherine from Keller

Angela Botz ( (Illinois Association of the Deaf))
Angela Botz ( (Illinois Association of the Deaf))

Angela Botz, my aunt, isn't some famous celebrity, or a well-known inventor or something like that. She's my aunt and she's deaf. She is a loving mother, wife, and the president of the Illinois Association of the Deaf. She overcame her handicap in many ways, talking on the telephone, playing the flute under Maestro Leonard Slatkin with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and continues to help those who are like her.

Angela's parents are Gail and Steve Gargac, her husband Bill Botz, and her children Kiefer and Katrina Botz .Her family found out she was deaf around 6 months after she was born by her grandfather. At 9 months old she attended the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother would put her in a cab and have the driver drop her off at the Institute where she learned to bake brownies and make coffee. During her elementary and middle school years she went to many different public schools all with deaf programs. Her parents believed it important to send her to hearing schools so she could learn to interact with hearing people in a hearing society. She was a persistent young woman. She was determined to perfect her speaking. Her older sister, Desiree, would sit with her and try to help in any way she could. The words she had most trouble with were words with the letter s such as snake and other long words like penguin with many syllables. In fourth grade, she saw someone play the flute and told her parents that she wanted to do that, too. Her parents said "no, you're deaf. You need to accept that you have some limitations." But they made her a deal. They said that if she learned to play the recorder, then they would rent her a flute. After that she would play and play and play until she got it down. After that her parents rented her a flute and hired a flute instructor- Beth Pitilo. Beth did not teach her to play at first but to breathe. Beth would put a phone book under her back and heavier phone books on her stomach and tell her to lift them up while breathing. By the time she started to learn to pay the flute, she was going to go to high school. For high school, she wanted to go to the Illinois School for the Deaf. This came as quite a shock to her family since she went to public school all her life. But it was here she found herself and became the leader she is today.

Being deaf, Angela had much more trouble talking and understanding others and her music. That didn't stop her from auditioning for the St. Louis Symphony led by Mister Leonard Stratskin. He allowed her to audition under the condition no one know that she's deaf. He wanted people to come to listen to the extraordinary music played by the whole symphony, not to see the deaf girl play the flute. He wanted her to join because of how good she was, and she was good. He let her join and she played for the next couple of years with the symphony. After that she was the main artist at her parents' company-Heroesque Graphics- for 20 years. Soon after that she began her career helping the deaf and people with disabilities.

I feel that Angela demonstrated heroism when she wouldn't let anyone get the way of her dreams. She kept trying even after people told her she couldn't do things because she was deaf. She didn't let her disabilities get in the way either and I find that extremely commendable. She wouldn't settle and she got what she wants out of life. Her family loves her and she is extremely happy helping out her community and doing her job.

Page created on 5/15/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/15/2013 12:00:00 AM

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