Snow White enjoys writing poetry and fiction, loves reading Babysitter Club and R.L. Stine books and likes school, except for social studies.
However, when the Queen Creek-area 14-year-old writes in her journal or does her homework, she uses her Braille writer or BrailleNote to write.
Braille writer is the Braille equivalent of a typewriter, and BrailleNote is a portable computer device.
Her thick books are translated into Braille for her dainty fingers to read.
And when she walks around the Copper Basin K-8 campus in the Florence Unified School District, she uses a cane to help her find her way.
Snow has been blind since birth because of a rare blood disorder.
Her life has been filled with hospital stays, health problems and now daily infusions of C proteins to help with her deficiency. She was only a couple of days old when she started having health problems and her legs turned black because of necrosis.
But the headstrong and hyper Snow doesn’t want to talk about her health.
Instead, she wants to talk about the writing awards she’s won, especially the story about the dragon. That was a schoolwide writing contest that she won last week. She got a certificate, a flower and a candy bar, which she said she devoured right away.
Or, she’ll tell you about winning the school spelling bee in December with the word “cemetery.” She went on to earn third place in the district, and then 12th in Pinal County. She remembers the dates of the spelling bee by heart and easily rattles them off.
And then, of course, there’s the backpack she won a couple of weeks ago filled with school supplies from the Fulton Homes and KOOL (94.5 FM) “Be KOOL Stay in School” program, which recognizes good students.
Teresa Romero, who works for the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix, works with Snow every day as a teacher of the visually impaired.
She works with Snow a couple hours a day teaching her how to do the Nemeth code (Braille for math and science notations), keyboarding skills and translating Snow’s tests and homework.
“She’s a very, very talented person,” said Romero, a Queen Creek resident. “She’s talented musically, and she’s very creative. I just think she’s a joy to work with. I just admire her a lot for all that she’s been through. I really do admire her.”
Snow loves talking about her singing, and how she loves to turn her poetry into music. She is gearing up for her school’s second talent show.
Or, she’ll talk about how she wants to be an actress and how she played someone walking a tight rope in “Seussical” at the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center. She’ll also be in her school’s production of “Into the Woods” in May.
“I’m trying to get her really active in the community,” said her 34-year-old mom, Alicia Schwartzmann, adding the family often goes out for hikes and the movies. “She really toughs it out. She just wants to be a normal kid.
“She’s so brave, and I’m proud of her,” she said. “I’ve grown so much from when I had her.”
Snow said that when she grows up she wants to be a singer, a writer, an actress or the first blind president. She’s not sure yet.
“So you’ll be a drama queen diva?” joked her dad, Colin Schwartzmann, a science teacher at Florence High School.
And like any other girl her age, she loves jumping around and playing with her two younger sisters, especially 7-year-old Catie, who she shares a room with.