Bartlett teacher helping student recover after tragedy strikes

Bright Spot

BARTLETT, Tenn. — Every morning, Deena Spuryer a student support teacher at Bartlett City Schools hops on Zoom. She delivers homebound instruction to students with medical issues that prevent them from traditional schooling.

“It’s a lonely place to be for the students,” she told WREG’s Symone Woolridge.

This semester she’s spending a lot of virtual time with 18-year-old Kaitlyn Bryan whose life was nearly cut short four months ago. She was riding in the passenger seat of a car with her boyfriend when it hit a tree.

“I was flown 15 feet away to the left of the tree. And if I wouldn’t have gotten ejected from the car then I wouldn’t have survived because the tree had come into my car from the passenger side,” she said.

Her boyfriend did not survive.

“Life, you can’t take it for granted. The little things can be taken away from you and just appreciate the people around you because you never know when something going to happen and things are going to change,” she said.

Kaitlyn spent time in the ICU. She even spent her 18th birthday in a hospital bed. Since the crash, she’s had 17 surgeries and doctors are still trying to save her leg.

Deena said she knew she had to do something to brighten Kaitlyn’s days, so she reached out to a dual sport phenomenon who could inspire her from her wheelchair.

“Alana Nichols is a world-renowned athlete,” said Deena. “She is the first American woman to win both gold and silver medals at the summer Paralympics. She had suffered a tragic accident at the age of 17, which is the same age that Kaitlyn was with her accident.”

Despite her busy life, Alana made a special video for Kaitlyn and even surprised her during one of her lessons with Deena. She gave Kaitlyn advice about staying strong and true to her talents, no matter her injuries.

As she’s shown, challenges are an opportunity for growth in every way possible.

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