PoliticalHead.com was the first ever website I created in 2005 at the age of fourteen in response to the 2004 presidential election.
The website would be featured in the Fairfield Echo, Journal News, & Dayton Daily News in September 2007. Below is the article,
Two friends no longer hear ‘can’t’
They have not let severe hearing losses silence their dreams
By Lindsey Hilty
FAIRFIELD — Feeling the music in his heart and allowing the pulsing sound waves to move him, Kyle Plunkett drums to his own beat.
The Fairfield junior has a 90 percent hearing loss in one ear and a 60 percent loss in the other.
Still, his artistic dreams are big.
“I want to learn how to record music and make a movie,” he said.
Plunkett, 18, has a large art portfolio of drawings and paintings, and in his spare time, he said he writes screenplays and makes up television shows.
Junior Corey Foister, 17, has a severe high-frequency hearing loss brought on from his childhood battle with cancer.
Foister’s passion for all things presidential is evidenced by his large collection of political buttons, posters on his bedroom walls and biographies lining his shelves.
“I’d like to volunteer for one of the political campaigns,” he said.
Someday, he wants to be a political writer.
Both boys heard the word “can’t” at an early age, but both refused to believe it applied to them.
“They never thought they couldn’t do anything, and they both support each other,” said Corey’s mother, Tina Foister.
She and Kyle’s mother, Priscilla Plunkett, worked one-on-one with their sons, insisting they could accomplish anything, even when it was against the odds.
Corey and Kyle have a countdown until video game Grand Theft Auto is released. They watch ?The Daily Show? and often fall asleep at night to talk radio.
The Fairfield High School juniors are so passionate about politics and video games, they have their own Web site, politicalhead.com, devoted to the topics.
?It?s rare to find somebody with the same disability and same hobbies as you,? Corey said.
Both boys are hearing impaired, and for years they have struggled with communication.
Now, they spend hours writing and working on their Web site, which combines gaming and politics with blogs, profiles on politicians and commentary on the latest news.
Kyle, 18, designed the logo, a monkey with a flip-top head. Corey, 17, built the page, which he said gets about 600 daily visitors. Since its creation last year, it has jumped from a value of $11 to $1,215, according to dnscoop.com.
Soon, they plan to open their own online store with T-shirts and other Politicalhead gear.
Both boys are eager to vote for the first time and this election they plan to have plenty of commentary on candidates.
Kyle’s parents, who tend to steer clear of politics, gave Corey a President Bush pin to add to his collection of campaign buttons — a friendly reminder to not lead their son astray.
It isn’t as though Corey is a die-hard Democrat, but the giant party flag on his wall is incriminating when Republican relatives visit.
Judy O’Connor, teacher for hearing impaired students, said Kyle and Corey have amazed teachers with their bond of friendship and resiliency.
“I think they’ve learned to be very strong and independent young people,” she said. “Nobody wants to be different at that age. They’ve had to be different and they are different, and I think that’s made them strong individuals.”
When Kyle and Corey met in the third grade, they had to struggle to find their way in a school filled with hearing students.
Following a conversation of a large group is difficult for them both. Kyle worked to build his speaking skills, and said he didn?t talk to people he didn?t know for fear they wouldn?t understand him. Corey, who is more shy, said he relied on Kyle to advocate for him and teach him how to use his FM system that hooks to his hearing aids to help him hear the teacher in class.
Kyle, whose hearing loss is more severe, suffered from many ear infections as a baby and came down with chicken pox at 9 months.
Doctors think that may be the reason he now must rely on hearing aids, lip reading and some sign language, said his mother, Priscilla Plunkett.
Kyle maintains a 3.8 grade point average despite catching about half of what is said around him.
Corey, also an “A” student, has a moderate to severe high frequency hearing loss from chemotherapy treatments as a baby, and wears hearing aids to compensate. He, too, can read lips.
Neuroblastoma, a cancer that nearly killed him, has weakened his heart, but not his spirit.
“We thank God every day for him,” said his mother, Tina. “He’s our miracle.”
Both families have had to make sacrifices for Kyle and Corey.
Both moms have worked diligently with their sons, studying with them for hours to ensure they could stay in mainstream classrooms. Both boys passed the Ohio Graduation Tests and are studying for college placement exams.
Their dreams are also the dreams of their families as together they work toward the goal of going to college. But no matter which paths Kyle and Corey take, they said they will always be best friends.
“Our friendship is priceless,” Corey said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Special Thanks to Lindsey Hilty for profiling the website.