South Cobb’s Nina Chambliss said she is not just an average student.
An average student is not a four-year varsity letter-winner and team captain, nor is she an average student recognized as “Most Helpful” of her graduating class and a “Who’s Who” recipient.
An average student also may not possess the wherewithal to juggle high school classes and a college engineering fundamentals degree, all while leveraging a hearing disability into one of their most powerful strengths.
Chambliss’ freshman year welcomed her high school work and began the onset of an engineering dual-enrollment program along with varsity tennis practices.
For many students, it may have been too much.
“It was the first time I thought I was going to fail,” Chambliss said. “ I didn’t know how I’m going to do this. I just didn’t know what to do.”
Rather than crumble, Chambliss sought help. She asked for help from her family, teachers, administrators and peers.
Ultimately, it laid a road map for achievement despite battling constant struggles.
“That was the key moment when I realized how to ask for help, and how help is an important thing in life,” Chambliss said. “l learned how to balance it all. I learned how to stay organized, and it also gave me a few tips about life and how to stay prepared for that, too.”
After unlocking the key to her future success, Chambliss began to thrive.
What were once constant struggles were now chances to succeed. Chambliss did well in class, on the tennis court and outside school. She overcame her hearing impairment, realizing that, if she could conquer something she could not control, she could surely conquer what she could control.
All of this developed into what Chambliss called her alter ego. Typically characterized by shyness and brevity, Chambliss quickly transformed into a confident, helpful and outspoken leader.
After overcoming so much, Chambliss was left speechless when her senior year was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I really just didn’t believe it because I had high hopes,” she said of an anticipated spring with tennis, prom, senior picnic and graduation. “I had expectations. It was heartbreaking to see it go away one by one.”
Chambliss will next head to Rochester, New York, where she will be pursuing a civil engineering degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology.