Angela Wilhelm

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Perfect Legacy

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0006-blog_zps03aa4495.jpg

Vicki Lezon dries her daughter's hair in their kitchen before heading to a cheerleading performance Saturday, November 2.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0004-blog_zpsff48ed84.jpg

Emily Lezon smiles during cheerleading practice at Vermilion High Tuesday, October 8.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0003-blog_zpsedf765ac.jpg

The Vermilion High varsity cheerleading squad practices Tuesday.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0007-blog_zpse30d17e2.jpg

Vicki makes customized wheel covers for Emily's events.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0001-blog_zpsdc271f1d.jpg

Emily heads to class among the flood of students at Vermilion High School Monday, October 14.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0005-blog_zpsee34b874.jpg

The Vermilion High varsity cheerleading squad practices Tuesday.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0002-blog_zpsb979806e.jpg

Emily waits at the nurse's office during school Monday.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0008-blog_zpsb9209b66.jpg

Emily leaves her house in Vermilion Saturday, November 2. Her father, Todd, is pictured in the background.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0010-blog_zps2ad92d3e.jpg

Emily is lifted in the air for a final pose during a performance at Tumbles and Cheers in Avon Saturday.

 photo SRP-Showcase-LezonLegacy-0011-blog_zps05cb9a68.jpg

Emily looks up at her mother, Vicki, as she crosses the field with her and her father, Todd, during senior night at Vermilion High School Friday, October 4.

From the moment she entered this world, a lot of people made some broad assumptions about who she could and could not become.

Emily Lezon was born 12 weeks premature at 2 pounds, 13 ounces, with a neural tube defect. She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Medical professionals with fancy degrees assumed she would never talk. They were wrong.

Specialists with teams of interns hovered over her, concluding she would never sit up straight. They were wrong. Some said cheerleading would be too difficult for her — it would be too cold outside, and she’d be unable to move like the other girls.

They were wrong, too.

Emily, now 17, has spent her entire life defying expectations and disproving grand assumptions.

So when she decided from her wheelchair that she wanted to be a cheerleader, most people assumed there was no possible way.

With help from her parents, Vicki and Todd, Emily paved her own way, as has become her custom.

“We walked into a doctor once and he said, ‘So, she can’t talk,’ and I said, ‘Would you like to hear her say her ABC’s?’” Vicki said. “We learned pretty quickly to not let anybody set limitations.”

When Emily decided she wanted to be a cheerleader, her parents saw it as an opportunity for her to lead the way for future students like her.

“A Friday night football game is probably the biggest thing that happens,” Todd said. “So many people get to see Emily out there supporting her team, and we’ve had tons of people say, ‘That’s really cool, why doesn’t our school do that?”

When they’re approached with that question, the Lezons know they are making a difference in more than just Emily’s life.

Emily is now a senior at Vermilion High School, where she sees everyone as a friend. She gabs with other students at lunch and looks forward to being part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in her Teen Leadership class. She can brighten her peers’ days with just a sentence or a smile.

“You could be having the worst week, and (with) just one minute of Emily’s time, you will be smiling for the rest of your week,” said fellow cheerleader Hannah Sharpe, a senior.

Not shy about displaying her trademark enthusiasm and confidence, Emily said, “I’m a very happy girl.”

Her happiness is infectious, and she has become a role model for other students, Vicki said.

Her perseverance cannot be ignored.

Emily had two emergency surgeries the weekend before school started this year.

“She came home from the hospital on a Monday, went to school on Tuesday, and cheered Friday,” Vicki said, beaming.

She even went to cheerleading practice when she wasn’t allowed to move her arms because of the stitches in her head, neck and stomach.

“She just keeps plugging along,” her mother said. “It’s hard to keep her down.”

When she leaves school, the rest of her day is full of bows and high pony tails with her Vermilion Sailors squad or with Ohio Extreme, a competition team, at Avon’s Tumbles and Cheers.

“Those girls I see every day put a big smile on my face whenever I see them,” Emily said. “That makes me feel good.”

In preparation for a recent performance with the Ohio Extreme squad, Vicki did Emily’s makeup and helped her put her shoes on. Todd changed the Sailor emblem on the tires of her electric wheelchair to a silver star, in support of Ohio Extreme.

The constant help from her parents does not go unnoticed — she often offers up a meaningful “thank you.” She never gets nervous in front of the crowds at football games, basketball games and competitions.

“I just love the spirit. It changed my life’s impact” she said of her five years as a cheerleader.

She proudly wheels to the front of the crowds, where she lets her spirit shine. She has found unique ways to show her spirit with her wheelchair, like decorating it with sparkles and team emblems. For the final pose with Ohio Extreme, her fellow cheerleaders lift her out of her chair, above their heads.

“I learned that I can do anything, even though I’m in a wheelchair,” she said. “I’ve found ways to do it.”

“Part of Emily’s legacy at Vermilion High School is when she’s graduated people will say, ‘Wait a second, this is what we can do, we’ll find a way,’” Todd said. “When you talk about a person’s legacy, that’s perfect.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ferris Wheel

 photo WILDART-MelonFest-09022013-100-A_blog_zpsa467309c.jpg

Monday, September 2, 2013

Panther Run to Fun

I photographed the Panther Run to Fun last weekend for Whirlybird Photography. It is such a fun race to be at and all the teams did a great job. Here are some of my favorite photos from the races.

Photos can be purchased online here.

 photo CC-JrHigh-Girls-08242013-001_blog_zps55159f49.jpg

 photo CC-DIV-I-Boys-08242013-007_blog_zps0fc90cf1.jpg

 photo CC-JrHigh-Boys-08242013-010_blog_zps52088b8c.jpg

 photo CC-DIV-II-III-Girls-08242013-059-C_blog_zps9269ffb8.jpg

 photo CC-JrHigh-Boys-08242013-117_blog_zps46895692.jpg

 photo CC-JrHigh-Girls-08242013-220_blog_zpsda6ae8bb.jpg

 photo CC-DIV-I-Girls-08242013-055_blog_zpsbbcdf281.jpg

 photo CC-DIV-II-III-Boys-08242013-141_blog_zpsf0e5169f.jpg

 photo CC-DIV-II-III-Girls-08242013-314_blog_zps442d7a4f.jpg

Monday, August 26, 2013


Quick break from road trip photos for some soccer. Glad to be shooting sports again!

 photo BSOC-CHSvPHS-08212013-210-Ewers_blog_zps75c56f7c.jpg

 photo BSOC-CHSvPHS-08212013-186-Ewers-Wott_blog_zps5482025f.jpg

 photo BSOC-CHSvPHS-08212013-098-Sharpe_blog_zps20830068.jpg

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

California Dreaming in San Diego

    Pardon me for being naive, but I thought California was hot. I mean, sunscreen galore, miles of beaches, the sun beating down upon your tan skin. As a midwestern kid growing up in overcast Ohio, I dreamed of California sunshine. I subscribed to Surfer Magazine. Yes, Surfer Magazine would find it's way to my mailbox in the middle of a cornfield once a month so I could tear out it's sea-foam green tinted, glossy pages and tape them to my walls.

    I was obsessed with all things Californian, though I didn't travel farther west than Chicago until I was 18. Even then I only went as far as Colorado. Anything with palm trees added a bit of sunshine to my small-town life. I bought the first season of Laguna Beach on DVD because "farmervision" doesn't include MTV. When the Fox television show "The O.C." premiered, I was captivated by the character's clothes, hair, homes, social life and musical interests. I purchased every soundtrack CD full of the shows beachy tunes and subconsciously purchased clothes similar to Marissa's.

    When The O.C.'s theme song, "California," by Phantom Planet, would fade into my living room, my sister and I would play our air guitars and pianos and I would get misty-eyed through a montage of waves crashing upon rocky cliffs, surfers catching swells, kisses on lifeguard stands, and silhouettes of palm trees fading with the sun.  If you think that is a little much, understand I went to a school that celebrated "tractor day" and missing school on the first day of hunting season was an excused absence.

    After years of dreaming about California, I was finally going to experience it from the beginning of Highway 1 to the end. Since the majority of the trip would be spent on the coast, I packed 5 pairs of shorts, 7 tank-tops, 2 bathing suits, 1 pair of jeans and a couple sweaters. Turns out… California is not that hot year round.

    After leaving the Mojave Desert, Matt, my co-pilot and boyfriend, couldn't wait to get to sunny San Diego. "This place has the best weather," I remember him saying. "I know," I thought, "I'm an expert on California- bring out the shorts and bikinis!"

    Instead, I wore my jeans and brought out my rain jacket because it was freezing and rained the entire time. Matt's friend's mother was kind enough to let us stay with her for a couple days and tour the city sans bathing suits, plus umbrellas. I was sad and showing signs of a cold. Yes, I caught a cold while romping through the Mojave Desert.

    Thus, overcast photos of seals and pelicans.

 photo SanDiego_05052013_0025_blog_zps519d5438.jpg

 photo SanDiego_05052013_0005_blog_zpsb4292225.jpg

 photo SanDiego_05052013_0021_blog_zps02d5667a.jpg

 photo SanDiego_05052013_0017_blog_zpsb7eb53bb.jpg

 photo SanDiego_05052013_0031_blog_zps56c06544.jpg

Monday, August 19, 2013

And now, a Presentation on the Endangered Desert Big Horn Sheep

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0042_blog_zpsb0b84cd8.jpg

     Matt and I, being the last humans on planet Earth to not have smart phones, have a map sprawled out on a picnic table and are plotting our next route to San Diego. An awkward park ranger walks into our campsite and gives us a suggestion of which highway to take. We thank him.

RANGER: So I'm giving a presentation later on the Desert Big Horn Sheep, they're endangered. I made a power point.

MATT: Oh yeah, we'll definitely be there.

RANGER: Great! I'll see you then. (Walks away with pep in his step and thumbs under his back pack straps)

ME: So we're going to a presentation on Big Horn Sheep tonight?

MATT: Nah, we don't have to go.

ME: You said we'd definitely be there. We have to go. No one else is going to go, we have to go.

MATT: Shit, you're right.

     The horns of a Big Horn Sheep weigh 30 pounds. They are scared of dogs because they do not know the difference between a lab and a wolf. A successful initiative to save the Big Horn Sheep has been building bridges across highways so wildlife doesn't get run over. That's all I really remember. Also, though the Ranger is not Beyonce, you should be just as excited to see him.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Joshua Tree

 photo JoshuaTree_05032013_0032_blog_zps5011f33f.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05032013_0037_blog_zpsae929ba4.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05032013_0024_blog_zps9ec9dc31.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05032013_0025_blog_zpsc6f957ce.jpg

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sun Hands

As the sun set on our last day in Joshua Tree National Park,
we climbed the giant boulder next to our campsite at Jumbo Rocks
to get a better look. Dozens of people appeared on the horizon,
rising up from the shadows looking like a Paleolithic community.
The rocks sustained the sun's warmth for a while after it set,
then the chill of night swept across the desert.

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0024_blog_zps748d4f9b.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0030_blog_zps54d14cbf.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0028_blog_zps0251243c.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0039_blog_zps1f5f3402.jpg

I climbed to the top of a hill
But I had just missed the sun
And although the descending arc was gone
Left behind were the traces that always follow along

The most beautiful colors chase the sun
They wrap her trail in a taunting gesture
That seems to sing out loud,
"this is what you're missing"

-Sun Hands, Local Natives

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pretty Prickly Things

Every place we went seemed like a different planet. Joshua Tree was no exception.

 photo JoshuaTree_05032013_0014_blog_zps70ea93fd.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05032013_0016_blog_zps1e1b58d6.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0012_blog_zps37d96a39.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0008_blog_zps7e767946.jpg

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0002_blog_zpsf2792bf1.jpg
This hurt us both.

 photo JoshuaTree_05042013_0017_blog_zpsb73f3460.jpg

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sunset at the Canyon

These photos were taken an hour apart as the sun set at the Grand Canyon.
05/01/13 7:06PM

 photo GrandCanyon_05012013_0050_blog_zps56c9f573.jpg

05/01/13 8:07PM

 photo GrandCanyon_05012013_0071_blog_zpsf1b2c8d9.jpg

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Grand Canyon

 photo GrandCanyon_05012013_0010_blog_zps722b0cb3.jpg

 photo GrandCanyon_05022013_0007_blog_zps2da6236a.jpg

 photo GrandCanyon_05012013_0041_blog_zps9438c75d.jpg

 photo GrandCanyon_05012013_0069_blog_zpsc1faa8b9.jpg

 photo GrandCanyon_05012013_0036_blog_zps8eb064f6.jpg

About Me

My photo
Staff photographer at the Sandusky Register. Videographer at Follow me on instagram @angwilhelm and @sanduskyregister

Stat Counter