Classroom Champions: Temple's Kashlyn Waggy

Whether she's dissecting a brain in biology, or racking up points for the Wildcats Swim Team, Temple senior Kashlyn Waggy is one impressive teenager.

"You know, she survived, she persevered. She just didn't survive, she survived and then she achieved," said Biology teach Jodi Bollinger.

And as heroic as balancing athletics and academics is, Kashlyn's Bio teacher is talking about a different type of triumph altogether.

"I was born with a rare spleen disorder ," said Kashlyn. "I had to have a blood transfusion when I was seven and I had my spleen removed whenever I was 11 and I almost died."

That's right. Kashlyn nearly left us. Twice. But now, she's an active member of her local church, in the top three percent of her class, a district champion swimmer, and an inspiration to those around her.

"I wish my daughters were younger, I'd say 'Hey, Kash, why don't you go hang around them for a couple days," said Temple Swimming Coach Trey Sullivan.

Ms. Bollinger sees it too.

"I have some of her teammates in my freshman classes, and it's not uncommon for me to hear them, you know, working on an activity, and Kashlyn will come up in their conversation and they're talking about what a great mentor she is."

Once she's done at Temple, Kashlyn will head down to Texas A&M to continue her studies, and eventually wants to end up as a pediatric anesthesiologist.

"I want to give back to the children like the doctors gave back to me, because I was really scared, and I don't want them to be scared."

But for now, the three-time regional qualifier and swim team captain continues to use a perspective gained from experiences few of us can even imagine to make the world a better place.

"If I can impact anyone, be it through laughter, or motivating someone on the swim team, I think that's really what's shaped the person who I am, because I just care that much more."