A Maui teen with Tourette Syndrome has re-entered public school with more confidence–and her story has been highlighted on HIKI NO, a weekly student news show that airs on PBS Hawaii. Bristyl Dempsey, 13, was diagnosed with the neurological disorder while she was in intermediate school. Classmates teased Dempsey because of her tics–and one teacher thought she was intentionally misbehaving in class.
Because of these difficulties, Dempsey’s mother had her home-schooled for one year. During that time, Bristyl’s symptoms improved through therapies including meditation. Now that she has joined her peers in public school, she has a renewed confidence and aspires to be a cheerleader.
The episode of HIKI NO premiered Jan. 21 on PBS Hawaii (click here to view it online).
The episode featuring Bristyl was hosted by students attending Ewa Makai Middle School Oahu; the episode also features stories about students from Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu who profile ukulele phenom Jody Kamisato, who chose the high risk/high reward route of opening his own music school over the option of being an employee of someone else’s school.
Additional segments will feature students from Wheeler Middle School offering tips on how to prepare an emergency kit in the event of a hurricane; students from Kalani High School introducing The Canvas, a student designed, student run work/play space in Kalihi.
In keeping with the theme of students creating their own venues of expression, the episode takes a look at a past HIKI NO story from Maui Waena Intermediate School about a high school student who created a youth version of TEDx, global events that promotes “ideas worth spreading.”
Additionally, students from Kapolei High School on West Oahu tell the story of a youth volunteer at the Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a no-kill animal shelter.
HIKI NO is a weekly student news show created and produced by students from a statewide network of schools. Under their teachers’ guidance, students from more than 80 public, private and charter schools from across the islands share stories from their communities to Hawaii and the world on the PBS show.
Photo courtesy PBS Hawaii