NEW IBERIA, La. – “Trah’nae was three years old when we noticed she was deaf,” explained parents Anegra and Tracy St. Julien, “We would call her and she would never respond but when she was turned towards us she would always respond and then when we decided to take her to the doctor he told us that she was reading lips all that time.””
Trah’Nae St. Julien faced a lot of adversity with other students when it came to her hearing impairment.
“In middle school she didn’t adjust to her disability of deafness,” said Anegra, “She didn’t like the way she talked because a lot of kids clown at the way she talks, they would make her talk just to laugh at her.”
It wasn’t until she started high school at New Iberia Senior High when she finally found a place at school that felt like home, the volleyball team.
“She began to accept who God created and she began to love herself because she found family she found family,” said Anegra, “These girls over here are truly and inspiration to Trah’nae and they love her.”
“I got Trah’Nae as a sophomore,” said NISH Volleyball Head Coach Brittany Dronet, “She was kind of quiet but very outgoing at the same time. I quickly became attached to her, very good kid, hard worker, and I knew she would be a very successful volleyball player.”
“When I was a Freshman I got my Letterman jacket and I realized I loved volleyball so much,” explained Trah,Nae.
After that, she never saw her deafness as a disability.
“I think most people don’t even realize that she is deaf,” said Dronet, “She’s just one of the normal girls. She looks like the rest of her teammates, she acts like them and she doesn’t let it stop her from doing anything.”
Come game time, Trah’Nae wasn’t phased by the noise, just focusing on the ball and her opponent.
While her family is always in the stands cheering her on, it’s her teammates that have quickly become her family on the court.
“They are my family, they’re like my sisters,” she explained.
“They’ve really adapted to her and to her game and we’ve all learned a little bit of sign language,” said Dronet, “The girls really got a kick out of it and they enjoy doing that for her.”
“I was shocked,” said Anegra when she first saw the players using sign language, “When I saw them start doing things with their fingers I was like oh they’re doing sign now?”
With her parents, her teammates, her coaches and her interpreters by her side, Trah’Nae and everyone around her knows the sky is the limit.
“Volleyball is such a verbal sport,” said Dronet, “I know it’s hard being, I’m able to hear, it’s hard game to play because there’s so much communication involved to see her success and succeed at this level with her disability is just amazing.”
She hopes to become a Ragin Cajun where she plants to play volleyball and eventually become a coach.