Racing to Greatness: Klein Collins Senior Defies Odds, Records
Klein Collins senior Chelsea Stein is stubborn, strong-willed, and brilliant. And that’s what makes her so great.
“We figured out very quickly that Chelsea knew what she wanted, and she was going to get it,” said Darrell Stein, Chelsea’s father.
Having recently been ranked #1 in statewide competitions, her coaches know it’s just the beginning of Chelsea making a name for herself on and off the track.
“Her determination to become great is unmatched,” said Robert Bradshaw, Klein Collins Offensive Line and Shot Put Coach. “As a coach, it is an awesome opportunity to help an athlete like Chelsea grow in her event. Chelsea is one of the hardest workers I know.”
Chelsea is ranked #1 in Texas for the 400-meter wheelchair race and #3 for the 100-meter. Unofficially, she’s ranked #2 in seated shot put in State after only training for five weeks.
“From the first time she raced the 100 and 400 wheelchair, I saw that she had real talent,” said Jennifer Harper, Klein Collins Alumni and Track and Cross Country Head Coach. “Her times have now qualified her for Paralympic Trials.”
Frequently, you can spot Klein Collins Principal Randy Kirk on the sidelines cheering for Chelsea as she competes.
“When I first met Chelsea, I was immediately drawn to her positive energy,” said Mr. Kirk. “Her contagious smile and determination to succeed no matter the challenge inspire others every day.”
Chelsea’s success goes far beyond her athletic accolades.
“Being adopted and coming to the United States finally allowed me to exercise and train,” said Chelsea. “In China, they did not accommodate me because I had a disability.”
With hopes of giving Chelsea a better life, Darrell and Laura Stein underwent a rigorous adoption process and were able to bring Chelsea home within one year.
“We found out she had sacral agenesis, a rare condition where she is missing the lower 5-6 inches of her tailbone and the nerves that go with it,” said Laura Stein, Chelsea’s mother. “She had a loss of limb in one leg, limited feeling in another, and extensive scoliosis from her condition.”
For Chelsea, meeting her parents for the first time was a moment of realization.
“I could see that I was going to have a much brighter future and a second chance at life,” said Chelsea. “I’m getting an education, parents who love me, and family – now, I have five other siblings! When I got here, I got hugs that I had never experienced before.”
With a Chinese kindergarten education at the age of 10, the Steins knew they had their work cut out for them.
“I learned enough Mandarin Chinese to communicate with her, and Laura worked with her at home until we were able to enroll her in 5th grade at Roth,” said Darrell. “We worked together for hours each day. She picked up on English very quickly and started saying ‘y’all’ all the time.”
From conquering a language barrier to joyfully living life despite her disability, Chelsea’s spirit and desire to beat the odds sparks hope and happiness in others.
“One word that describes what it’s like to coach Chelsea is joy,” said Coach Harper. “She’s very humble, and she knows her purpose on this earth is not only to bring joy but also to impact others who share the same condition as her.”
With her latest acceptance to the University of Arizona, Chelsea is already well on her way to changing lives.
“I want to pursue my nursing degree in college because I want to help kids like me,” said Chelsea. “I’m just so thankful. I could never in a million years imagine I’d be where I am right now.”
— Ms. Jennifer Harper (@LeaderHarper) February 3, 2021
With the entire Klein Collins community and a supportive family backing her, there’s no doubt that this Tiger will continue crushing every challenge that comes her way.
“Enjoy this time to shine, Chelsea!” said Mr. Kirk. “You have already won a gold medal in life. Now go win those gold medals at your meets!”
Best Public Schools in Texas
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About Klein ISD
Klein ISD is a school district in Klein, Texas located in northwestern Harris County. The district spans approximately 87.5 square miles and serves more than 53,000 students in 33 elementary schools, 10 intermediate campuses, one high school program of choice, and 5 high schools.
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