UofL student with Cerebral Palsy makes the grade


by Claudia Coffey


Posted on December 11, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 7:01 PM

(WHAS11) – An Oldham County woman never let her disability get in the way of earning her degree at the University of Louisville.

Kirsten Barraclough, 22, has studied day and night to earn her degree in English from the University of Louisville. The Oldham County woman, who has Cerebral Palsy, admits over the last four years, it hasn't always been easy.

“I motivated myself by keeping at it," Barraclough said.

She may be limited physically but not in her drive and passion for getting that degree.

"It’s not going to magically become easy. But if you keep going you have those support systems around you that it will make it so worth it," Barraclough said.

She hasn't been alone in this journey. Her mom Marilyn has been there every step of the way, driving her to school, taking her to classes and cheering her on. She was even named 'Parent of the Year' in 2011 by the University.

“We talk about it on our drives. We have such a wonderful time talking. She tells me about her classes and things that have been said. We discuss things. It has been a very bonding several years," her mother Marilyn said.

At her home, her parents designed a study that suits her needs. It allows her to move around and most importantly do all the work herself.

“It’s really valuable that she do the work at home because of the way we have to set up easels and computers. If she gets set up she can be independent in all her studies," Barraclough said.

The family has truly made this kitchen slash study conducive to a learning environment. She has an easel so she can read closely and a laptop to review lectures.

So as she accepts that diploma Thursday, her parents will be beaming with pride and Kirsten plans to hold that diploma up high.

"It is so worth it. I would do it all again,” Barraclough said.

Kirsten plans to work as a librarian.

Thursday she plans to attend the President's Reception and at 7 P.M. is the Commencement Ceremony at Freedom Hall.