Written by Sandy Leach, educational interpreter at Northwest AEA

Sam Holzrichter is an 18-year-old senior at North High in Sioux City. Sam was born with a hearing loss, and his hearing progressively got worse. He started working with the AEA at 13 months of age. In May 2002, he received a cochlear implant in his right ear; and in October 2009, his left ear was implanted.

In August of 2014, Sam tried out for the 2015 Deaflympics while attending AHIHA (American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association) camp in Buffalo, NY.  Hockey is a huge part of Sam’s life, so this just made sense. In December, he was chosen, and was one of the youngest on TEAM USA to travel to Russia in March to compete in the 2015 Deaflympics. TEAM USA brought home a bronze medal!

Sam is currently an assistant captain of the Sioux City Metros and refs youth hockey games. He was chosen as the North High student to attend Boys State 2015 in Johnston, Iowa. Most recently, he was selected as Sioux City Rotary Club’s Student of the Month. 

Sam attended Clark Elementary and North Middle School. He has been very active in extracurricular activities. Sam plays the cello in orchestra, drums in marching band, concert band and jazz band. He also was in wrestling and cross-country during middle school. He is a member of the National Council on Youth Leadership. Sam is also a member of the North High National Honor Society and has taken AP classes and honors classes. He has a 3.9 GPA and ranks twentieth of 334 students in his class.

He works with a sign language interpreter. Sandy Leach, an educational interpreter at the AEA, has been with Sam since fourth grade.

“Sam has challenged me to become a better interpreter, said Sandy. “What an amazing young man! If there is one thing Sam has taught me, it is to believe that anything is possible!”

After graduation, Sam plans on attending RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), in Rochester, NY.  More specifically, he will attend NTID (National Technical Institute for the Deaf), a college of RIT.  He will major in chemical engineering.

Sam has been an incredible role model for all younger students with a hearing loss. He is proof that the deaf and hard of hearing can do anything the “hearing” can do…except hear.