It's easiest just to follow her lead, her parents explain, which would seem daunting at best considering Charlotte Brown uses a guide dog.
But Ian and Stori Brown learned a long time ago that when it comes to their daughter, they are best-served by getting out of her way. Nothing could have convinced them of that more than this past year, when it became evident that their already legally blind 16-year-old's vision was failing.
For Charlotte, "legally blind" meant seeing through her good eye was like looking through a coffee stirrer: blurry and with no depth perception or ability to distinguish colors or shapes. The left eye was "there for decoration," Charlotte joked. And "failing" means Charlotte can now only vaguely discern light and dark.
But "failing" is just not a word one of the best high school pole vaulters in Texas generally uses.
A junior at Rains High School in Emory, Texas (about 65 miles east of Dallas), Brown is preparing to compete in the Class 3A regionals this week -- the final hurdle before the Texas state meet, where last year she gained national attention and finished in eighth place. Her parents are equal parts amazed and matter-of-fact, having raised her to strive for no less than anyone else.