Who we are: Summit County local making impression in classroom, on slopes | SummitDaily.com

Who we are: Summit County local making impression in classroom, on slopes

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

BRECKENRIDGE – K.C. Farmer isn’t normally shy. Get her talking about the slopes at Copper Mountain or the kids she works with at Upper Blue Elementary School, and she’ll gladly give you an earful.

It’s just that she doesn’t like to talk about herself all that much.

Although, it’s not like she needs to; Those who have been around her enjoy doing that for her.

“K.C. is an optimist,” UBE principal Kerry Buhler said. “She always has a smile on her face and joy in her heart. … K.C. is exactly the kind of person we want sharing the learning experience with our kids.”

“She is there to support the kids … and her love for the kids shines through in everything she does,” Buhler added.

And whether it’s working with the UBE preschool and kindergarten classes or chasing down medals in the Special Olympics, K.C., 22, has made lasting impressions on all those around her.

Her last name’s a pretty big giveaway, but still, most people don’t put two and two together all that often, K.C.’s mother Sharon Farmer said.

That is, most people don’t realize K.C.’s tie to the community: Farmer’s Korner.

Her grandparents owned the land at the intersection of Highway 9 and Swan Mountain Road, and when they decided to sell it, it was under the condition that the name stuck.

“Her family’s been here a long time,” Sharon said.

K.C. attended Dillon Valley Elementary and graduated from Summit High School.

During the time in between, K.C. picked up something else that runs in her family: skiing.

Growing up in Denver, both of Sharon’s parents were ski instructors, and skiing was always a big part of her life.

When K.C. was 11, she gave it a try.

She first took lessons with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center – a nonprofit that helps to ensure that the outdoors is accessible to those with disabilities and special needs.

K.C., who has learning impairments, has loved the sport ever since.

“I like going fast and doing the speed events,” she said.

And those are the events that she’s thrived on in the Special Olympics.

This past March, K.C. won bronze medals in the slalom and giant slalom in the Special Olympics’ Colorado State Winter Games at Copper Mountain.

K.C. was also the master of ceremonies for the Games.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I liked doing it, and it was fun that it was here (at Copper Mountain).”

Although K.C. has tasted success the way few skiers get to, she’s had the unfortunate opportunity to experience something a lot of others have: injury.

Last season, K.C. broke her leg during a training practice.

Both K.C. and her mom, who is the volunteer head coach for the Summit County Special Olympics team, can laugh about the injury now, but it wasn’t exactly pretty.

“She got close-lined (by a rope) at practice for Special Olympics. She flipped over and was like a pretzel when I got to her,” Sharon said.

Fully recovered now, K.C. said the injury doesn’t deter her from getting back on the slopes.

“No,” she said. “I didn’t really think about (not skiing).”

K.C. had been working at a resort in Breckenridge until last summer when layoffs left her without anything to fill her days.

That’s when her mom – a health paraprofessional at UBE – asked if it would be possible for K.C. to volunteer at the school.

“The preschool teachers were nice enough to say yes, and she did so well that the kindergarten teacher asked if she’d come in,” Sharon said.

K.C. now works two days each week with the preschool and two days in the kindergarten, helping the kids with everything from reading to handwriting to staying on task during group work.

“She spends her time supporting teachers in any way that she can,” Bulher said.

K.C. also gave the classes a presentation during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games about the Special Olympics. She showed the kids her medals and discussed everything the Games are about – from perseverance to integrity.

“Kids were bragging about K.C.’s medals in the halls,” one UBE teacher said.

Although Buhler and her teaching staff all agree on the great impact K.C. has had on the kids, it’s easy for her mother to see the impact it’s also had on K.C.

“Seeing her work here, it’s been good for her,” Sharon said. “She has a lot of patience. She’s happy to work here, and it’s helped her to have something to do. She likes volunteering and helping out.”

As you might guess, though, K.C. isn’t focused on what the experience does for her. She’d rather talk about the kids.

“They’re really good kids. I read with them and sometimes do their literacy centers with them,” K.C. said. “They’re getting pretty good (at reading), they’re getting better. Just seeing the kids and working with them is pretty fun. And it’s great to see how much better their getting.”

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