HIGH 5

Cheerleader With Legal Blindness Empowers Peers To Reach Out To Each Other

Nov 8, 2018, 7:10 AM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 12:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – At a University of Utah football game, there is so much to take in: the game, the fans, the excitement. For one high flying, fearless Utah cheerleader, though, it’s all shadows.

Savanah Vigil is legally blind.

“I don’t really use my eyes to cheer at all,” she said. “I was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, which is in the retina of my eye, so I have no correction with glasses or contacts.”

Savanah relies on her other senses when cheering.

“I go with touch, and my body just remembers where to go,” she said. “I have great teammates that lead me around to help me get in line, but I just go off body motion.”

“The team really embraces her,” said coach Stephanie Baxter. “The guys will say, ‘OK, who has Savy?’ It’s awesome. They take care of her.”

At the university, Savanah has a great support system.

“She just brings an incredible spirit to our team,” team captain Jared Heldt said. “Just positivity.”

“I just think she is the greatest,” cheerleader Haley Skinner said. “You will not meet a kinder person.”

For this young athlete, though, it wasn’t always that way.

Back up a few years and picture this: A young girl at Bingham High School, hiding out in the parking lot because she literally couldn’t see her friends.

“I never could find them at lunch to go sit with them, so I would just sit there, hopefully waiting for someone to walk up to me,” Savanah said. “It was hard.”

She took matters into her own hands.

“No one deserves to feel like this,” she said. “I walked into the principal’s office and was like, ‘Is there anyone who is alone? Because I will sit with them and be their friend.'”

Savanah’s actions lead to the formation of the Golden Gate Initiative, a pro social club encouraging students to reach out to each other. It has now spread to multiple schools and has more than 5,000 members.

Savanah stays active with the club, speaking to PTA and student groups around Utah.

Now she’s continuing to show that spirit of support to the U of U.

“She’s becoming a huge role model in the community,” coach Stephanie said. “That’s cool to see because I think everyone needs someone to look up to.”

Savanah Vigil received a High 5 for taking kindness to new heights and inspiring students in Utah to reach out and make a difference.

“Nobody deserves to be alone in this world,” she said. “Everyone deserves to be noticed, and an act of kindness can change someone’s whole year or even life.

KSL 5 TV Live

High 5

(KSL TV)...

Dan Spindle, KSL TV

HIGH 5: Utah Group Packs Thousands Of Bags To Feed Kids Through Summer Months

There are Utah children who won't go hungry thanks to some caring volunteers with USANA Kids Eat.

3 years ago

Chris Schunk is a special education teacher at Snowcrest Junior High School. (KSL TV)...

Haley Smith, Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

High 5: Special Ed Teacher Treats Students As People First

Students and parents at Snowcrest Junior High couldn’t imagine a day without special education teacher Chris Schunk as they navigated the highs and lows of the last school year in the middle of the pandemic.  

3 years ago

Crossing Guard Verl Creager makes sure to wave at every car, every day. (KSL TV)...

Haley Smith & Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

High 5: Crossing Guard’s Kind Gesture Brightens Community

Verl Creager is the school crossing guard at Valley Elementary School. Many don't know his name, but they know who he is because of a simple gesture. He makes sure to wave at every car that passes by.

3 years ago

Photo provided by Sticky Chicken...

Dan Spindle & Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

High 5: Cooking Up Life Lessons That Stick At Sticky Bird

Sticky Bird in Farmington seems like any other fast, casual chicken restaurant, but what happens behind the scenes is the real recipe for a better life. 

3 years ago

(KSL TV)...

Shara Park, KSL TV

High 5: Utahns Step Up To Help Clear The Snow

During the recent winter storms, countless Utahns stepped up to help both neighbors and strangers clear snow.

3 years ago

...

Grant Weyman & Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

High 5: Grant Elementary Grateful For Attentive Principal

At Grant Elementary School in Murray, there are some very grateful people who appreciate their principal. 

3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Cheerleader With Legal Blindness Empowers Peers To Reach Out To Each Other