Silt’s Bobby Layman named CMC ‘outstanding student’
SPRING VALLEY, Colorado ” “When you have a massive closed head injury, people tell your family, ‘He will not live … he will not walk or speak … he will not learn …’
“Thank you for believing in me … that I could learn, and I did learn.”
Those words were spoken by Bobby Layman of Silt upon receiving his Colorado Mountain College diploma at last Saturday’s Spring Valley graduation ceremony.
Layman was one of three graduates receiving the CMC Roaring Fork Campus’s David Allen Outstanding Student Awards, recognizing graduates who have overcome obstacles, provided extraordinary service to the college or community, or have achieved outstanding academic success.
Like Layman, the award’s namesake suffered a severe brain injury as a college freshman in Texas in 1978. But he defied the doctors’ belief that he would never recover, and eventually went on to earn an associate of arts degree from CMC in the early 1980s.
The Outstanding Student Award was named for Allen after he passed away in 1995, honoring the inspiration he offered.
Layman’s story was much the same when, as a 16-year-old Rifle High School student, he suffered a severe head injury in a 2003 skiing accident at Highlands.
After the initial prognosis that he likely wouldn’t live, and then that he might live but in a vegetative state, he too defied the odds, explained Cheri White, disabilities services coordinator at CMC, in introducing Layman as one of the award recipients last weekend.
He couldn’t talk or eat solid food for more than a year, his long- and short-term memory was impaired, and his ability to process information had decreased.
But he was determined.
“With the help and support of his parents, Bobby began taking classes at CMC’s Rifle campus in the summer of 2006,” White said. “As a result of the continued support of his parents, numerous tutors, and supportive CMC faculty, his long- and short-term memory as well as his information processing began to improve.”
His success ultimately led him to continue his education at CMC. He even moved into the residence hall at Spring Valley, participating in the Residence Hall Association and a variety of campus clubs and activities.
“As you can see, Bobby is a fighter,” White continued. “His voracious appetite for learning has been the impetus to his success.”
Layman has been accepted to attend Mesa State College in Grand Junction, where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree. He is currently volunteering at his former grade school in Silt helping with special-needs second-graders, and may pursue a teaching certificate as well.
CMC’s other Outstanding Student Award winners this spring were Amanda Robinson of Golden, and Alex Frias, a Mexican immigrant now living on the Front Range.
Robinson received both an associate of science degree with an emphasis in physics, and an associate of arts degree, according to a CMC press release. She also immersed herself in social science, applying what she learned to the cause of social justice. She traveled to Uganda with a project aimed at building housing for orphans resulting from the AIDS crisis, and recently made a campus presentation called, “Consumerism: Generously funding poverty since 1776.”
“When (Frias) first entered the doors of the Glenwood Learning Lab, his talents were evident,” the college press release stated. “He wrote and revised and wrote and revised and within two years, had progressed from basic English to college level.”
He went on to master Spanish, English, Italian and French, while working many hours to support his educational pursuits.
Contact John Stroud: 384-9160
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