Born with hearing loss, recent 2014 Catonsville High School graduate Bailey Weinkam has overcome many obstacles in her lifetime.
Weinkam was recently awarded the 2014 Brittney Reese Allied Sports Scholarship for her outstanding character and sportsmanship.
A participant in the Allied Sports bowling program at the school since her freshman year, Weinkam also played softball during her senior year.
The Allied Sports program provides students with disabilities an opportunity to participate in sports with their non-disabled peers, according to Baltimore County Public Schools.
Known as the "Wolf" by her teammates for a signature howling move she does after bowling a strike, Weinkam said being part of the team helped her to fit in with her fellow students.
"It helped me feel more comfortable with other students," she said.
Weinkam was nominated for the Reese award by her Allied Sports coach and special education teacher, Alicia Brady.
Brady said Weinkam often lent a hand to assist her teammates with physical disabilities.
"She was often the last off the school bus and helped another student in a wheelchair get off safely," Brady said. "Bailey was always there to help assist the student getting into the school."
Brady said she always appreciated Weinkam's willingness to be flexible during games and help out when needed.
"She's a funny person and has the ability to make situations more comfortable for others by adding humor," Brady said.
Brady said Weinkam met all of the criteria for the award, which included: playing at least two Allied sports, attending a secondary school after high school and exhibiting sportsmanship on and off the field.
The scholarship program was founded in 2013 by Brittney Reese, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion in the women's long jump, and her agent, Mark Pryor, owner of the World Express Athletic Management, to commemorate the achievements of students in the Allied Sports program, BCPS information said.
The Allied Sports program was created by the Baltimore County Public Schools' Office of Athletics during the 1994-1995 academic year, according to a Baltimore County Public Schools' (BCPS) press release, and now offers soccer in the fall, bowling in the winter and softball in the spring.
Weinkam, who received a cochlear implant at age 4 which helped to improve her language and speech development, was enrolled in the BCPS Adaptive Learning Support (ALS) program.
"The hearing difficulty caused her speech and language to become delayed," said her father, Mark Weinkam. "During those formative years, she struggled with language development."
His daughter, 18, was in the adaptive program throughout school, but was able to take regular classes her senior year with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), which allows for special accomodations, he said.
Receiving the award took her by surprise.
"I feel a little surprised because for the past four years I have never gotten any scholarship," said Weinkam, who was named the bowling team's Most Valuable Player in her junior and senior years.
Mark Weinkam said attending his daughter's bowling matches was often a family event.
"I was so proud to learn she had won the scholarship," Weinkam said.
"Allied Sports is fantastic," he said."It's all about fun."
Bailey Weinkam's summer plans include traveling to Alaska, a gift from her grandparents, before she begins school in the fall on the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.
There, she plans to study animal science and join her twin brother on campus, who began taking classes last year.
"She has just worked so hard to overcome anything in her way," Weinkam said of his daughter. "She had a great high school experience."