Having watched Kyra grow up from a young age, having the opportunity to be her photographer for her senior session at Garden of the Gods was such a delight!
Kyra is differently abled than her peers, but that has never stopped her from achieving whatever she sets her mind to. I first saw Kyra when she was in early elementary school, at the special olympics zipping around in her wheelchair in races and through obstacle courses like a speed demon. Kyra's body may not work the same as most other people's, but her mind is sharp. She has done well for herself in school and plans to continue her education and study English or theater at Pikes Peak State College. She also made it clear to her mom a while ago that she's not an athlete - she's an actress! Kyra enjoyed participating in theater and choir when I taught middle school so I often saw her near my classroom and we got to know each other. Additionally, I enjoyed watching her perform in the middle school plays, and she has carried that passion with her into high school and continues to be a part of school plays and musicals. She's stubborn and smart and talented and funny and an absolutely delightful human being who is beloved by her family and friends, loves to adventure off-road as much as she can, and rolls her eyes at the antics of her younger siblings, when people don't quite understand what she's saying, and whenever she and her parents go through the typical teenager-parent minor squabbles.
Kyra & her mom, Sarah, are really Rocks for each other. Kyra's diagnosis with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy at 6 months old was devastating for Sarah, but she quickly went to work to provide for her daughter and ensure she had the very best in care from both her doctors and her family. She has encouraged Kyra to try anything and everything and gone out of her way to provide Kyra with whatever she needs to try new things and achieve her goals. She has encouraged Kyra to not be held back by her limitations but to strengthen her mind all the more to make up for her weak muscles, and Kyra has done just that. Her confidence and intelligence know no bounds! Sarah continues to passionately serve differently-abled kids by providing adaptive sports and PE experiences throughout the school district.
For Kyra's formal photos we went to Garden of the Gods, where we found so many beautiful spots along a wonderful accessible pathway that led to the spot Kyra wanted to have photos done in front of the Kissing Camels rock formation. The summer sunflowers were still beautiful and abundant thanks to a rainy summer, and even though the day had been hot, the coming fall made for a beautifully calm and temperate evening. The soft glow of the setting sun created such a beautiful atmosphere for Kyra's senior session surrounded by the gently waving grass and wildflowers and towering red rocks surrounding her. Kyra's dear friend and aide Miss Suzie joined her for photos that evening and it was so special to capture their relationship too - which I was delighted to hear would continue as Suzie will continue along with Kyra into her college years!!! *happy tears* We watched deer come and go - does with their babies and bucks with impressive antlers. As dusk fell bats flapped overhead and we excitedly caught some stunning photos of Kyra with the nearly-full moonrise.
The next day we met again at Bear Creek Park, documenting this chapter of her whole family's story together in all the love and laughter they share. Kyra's little brother and sister adore her, and she them, even though they drive her crazy. They love climbing on her chair for rides and crazy poses! No one in this family is lacking in personality! In the last of summer's green and glory Kyra's family laughed together, bickered a little, and showed their love and devotion for one another in ways both big and small. We also took a few more senior photos for Kyra, centered on her love of theater! Being out in nature is also such a part of who she is, so these beautiful outdoor locations for her senior photos were the perfect choice.
Kyra & Sarah, thank you for trusting me with your senior and family memories. It's been such a blessing getting to know your family all these years, from the stadium at the special olympics, to the halls of Falcon Middle, to being neighbors, to celebrating this incredible milestone in Kyra's life. I'm honored to know you guys and can't wait to see how this special year unfolds for Kyra along with her future after high school!