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story.lead_photo.caption Blair Oaks High School Senior Meagan Forck poses for a photo. Photo by Layne Stracener / News Tribune.

Teacher, firefighter, farmer, cheerleader, student — Meagan Forck does it all.

And these are only a few words to describe her.

Forck, a Blair Oaks High School senior, is always there to lend a helping hand, whether she's helping a stranger with a broken down car or helping to feed the less fortunate.

"I just want to make a difference in someone's life, whether it be big or small," she said. "I just want to be there for everybody and give a helping hand in every situation."

Forck has always been interested in sign language, and she began learning it as a child by reading sign language books.

Then she began experiencing hearing loss herself.

"In case something were to get severe, it would always be a back-up plan," she said. "And then I just kind of grew a passion for it."

After taking her first sign language class her freshman year, she grew a passion for teaching it to others — even if it's just a few words.

Forck began teaching sign to an interested Immaculate Conception Catholic School student about a year ago.

In August, she began teaching about nine High Point Elementary School second-graders sign language after High Point teacher Anne Brennecke asked if she would be interested. She teaches them twice a week for about 20 minutes via Zoom.

She started by teaching them the alphabet in sign language while singing the ABC's. Now, they do nursery rhymes and learn words such as numbers and types of animals.

Forck said she wants to thank Brennecke for letting her teach sign language to the students.

"It really means a lot to me," she said. "This opportunity is really something that I'm fortunate to take hold of, and I'm really enjoying it."

For the Blair Oaks' American Sign Language Club, Forck goes to Christmas parties at the Missouri School for the Deaf each year to meet the students and give them presents.

Meeting people who have been deaf their whole lives has been eye-opening and has elevated her passion for sign language, she said.

"Getting to go and just meet with them is life-changing," she said. "Getting together and making those connections with people that you might not ever have met any other way is just amazing."

Forck plans to attend the University of Missouri to study animal science and go into veterinary medicine.

Growing up on a farm, she has always loved working with animals.

Forck also is in Fellowship of Christian Athletes; serves as the FFA president and 2020 Cole County Fair Queen; and works at Covered Bridge Market in Russellville.

Following in her parents' footsteps, Forck became a cadet firefighter for the Osage Fire Protection District when she was 14.

"I want to give back in every way possible, whether it's big or small," she said. "I've always looked up to my parents — they were both firefighters — and they're role models in my life, so knowing that they made a difference, I wanted to be a difference maker, too."

She enjoys everything she does because she gets to meet new people and make a difference.

"Little things sometimes make the biggest difference," she said. "I think that has probably been my favorite part is knowing that I might just be making a little change here, but it's a big difference in the long run."

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