He is a varsity soccer and JV volleyball player, is a part of the Fellow Christian Athlete (FCA) Club, is the future ASB Vice President, and is able to juggle everything while maintaining A’s and B’s. He even won an award for his GPA his sophomore year and has two AP courses selected to round out his senior year. All of these accomplishments are made even more astonishing by the fact that Noah is 100 percent deaf. “I am the only deaf person in my entire extended family,” Noah said. “I was born deaf, but my family did not find out until I was 11 months old.” Noah’s aunt was babysitting him and noticed that he wasn’t crying for his mom or reacting to loud noises around him. When Noah was rushed to the doctor, he informed his mother that Noah was not reacting because he couldn’t hear any of the sounds.
Five months later Noah received a cochlear implant, which helps him to hear about 75 percent of sounds, and he began to learn SEE (Signing Exact English). However, Noah preferred his family to continue speaking to him instead of relying solely on Sign Language. After attending an oral school for the deaf in Redwood City to work on his speech, Noah didn’t sign anything until he reached 6th grade. “I just read lips and struggled through it all,” Noah said. “Now I have interpreters with me in school, giving me full access to everything.”
Noah’s unrestricted access includes sports. He began playing soccer when he was a child, inspired by his mother who had also played. Noah was successful on the soccer field because his mother would be on the sidelines explaining what was going on and what was expected of him through sign language. As he learned the rules of the game, Noah was able to excel on his own. After a few years of playing, however, Noah’s mother passed away from Melanoma. “My mom was my soccer inspiration and my inspiration to continue,” Noah said. “That’s very important to me.” Noah is continuing to bring honor to his mother at the high school level, playing on the Heritage varsity soccer team. “It has been a challenge playing sports as a deaf person, but I now have school-hired interpreters with me. I also rely heavily on my eyesight. I use my eyes constantly.” Noah started on the JV team as a freshman and then advanced to varsity as a sophomore where he continues to shine as a right midfielder and forward. “I love playing right mid because I get to use my speed running up and down the field constantly,” Noah said. “I get to switch from offense to defense quickly and am always involved.”
In his freshman year Noah decided to add volleyball to his repertoire. “My entire family kept telling me to try it,” Noah said. “My grandmother played when she was in high school, so she persuaded me to try out.” Noah made the JV team having never played before and earned himself the setter position. The setter puts all of the plays into action and is continuously involved with the game, which is what Noah loves about the position, but is also difficult to manage if you can’t hear what play is being called. “When I started volleyball, I didn’t have my interpreters yet, and I wanted to blend in with the crowd,” Noah said. “However, in volleyball, you have to rely on your hearing. It’s a lot of constant communication. It was hard, but after a little while I figured out where they would be going visually.” Noah now has interpreters with him for volleyball, just like soccer.
Last year Noah helped his soccer team reach a 16-3 record, taking them to NCS. Their first game was impressive, facing De La Salle High School and pushing it into overtime twice, followed by penalty kicks where Heritage ultimately won. The second round of NCS pitted the boys against Santa Rosa High School on the competitor’s turf, where the Heritage varsity team ended their run. “The thing I love the most about soccer is that it’s very team-oriented,” Noah said. “You have to work as a team to achieve a goal, and I love that. I’m extremely close with my family, and soccer is just like another family to me.”
As a junior, Noah knows that college is right around the corner, and he has already started planning his future. “I would like to attend Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.,” Noah said. “It is a university for deaf students and is my top pick.” If his dream school does not become a reality, Noah would also like to join the Azusa Pacific University family in southern California. Either way, Noah plans on studying aerospace engineering. “I would love to play soccer at the collegiate level, but that depends on which university I attend, since Azusa does not have a soccer team.”