VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Students and teachers at a Virginia Beach high school helped a classmate see colors for the first time.
Bayside High School freshman Benjamin Bermudez found out he was colorblind in kindergarten. He says he has trouble seeing the colors blue and green.
“The colors are not as bright. Everything’s kind of boring. It’s hard to describe,” he said over a Zoom call.
Bermudez shares a class called “Sci-Fi” with Vanessa Lilo and Kenyce Rodriguez. The class combines what they learn in biology with physical education and health to apply what to learn in the real world.
Students were taking a course about genetics when Lilo and Rodriguez say they got the idea to help Bermudez.
“We overheard him say he couldn’t see the colors so me and Kenyce kind wanted to help out,” Lilo said.
Rodriguez also had some inspiration from social media by scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram.
“I kept seeing ads and videos of people giving their friends or family Enchroma glasses. It kept popping up. I said I should do something. I didn’t know if it was a sign,” she said.
So, the two fundraised to buy the glasses for Bermudez and approached their teachers, Jenn Vedder and Ryan Kupriel about the gift.
“We were blown away because what we do is make connection to everyday life and everyday situations, and the fact they could take what they were learning and apply it and, better yet, help a classmate, it was so fun to watch them do it,” Vedder said.
Kupriel says they already had most of the plans in motion when they approached the teachers.
It’s also the first time they’ve had students do something so generous their classmates.
“They do a lot of community service work but for a specific student, it was pretty cool and this was the first time it’s happened,” he said.
Bermudez’s classmates and teachers were planning to surprise him before schools were shut down for the year but that didn’t stop them from still giving him his gift.
Rodriguez was able to drop it off at his house.
“Everything is … brighter. The colors pop out more,” Bermudez said about his new spectacles.
Bermudez’s mother, Caroline, says the four teachers and students deserve more credit than they can give them and that the glasses have definitely helped.
“Yesterday, we were just looking at cash and he was like ‘Oh! It’s green!'” she said. “He thought it was white. It’s little things we see and don’t realize and take for granted that he’s able to see.”
And, the glasses will help him do something other teens look forward to.
“He can drive a car now. Next year, he goes to 10th grade. They learn driver’s ed. Now, he can see the colors on the stop light. That’s everyday stuff we take for granted. Now, he’ll be able to participate,” Vedder said.
To learn more about the Enchroma glasses, click here.