The Grade Blog

Monday, May 26 2014 02:00 PM

Once near death, teen now headed off to college

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Ridgeview senior Angeleigh Kumpel studies an electrical circuit project in her science class.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Angeleigh Kumpel is graduating from Ridgeview with a 4.3 GPA and plans to attend UCLA.

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BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer lforeman@bakersfield.com

Angeleigh Kumpel, a senior at Ridgeview High School, was 10 seconds shy of being pronounced dead at the scene of an accident Jan. 3, 2012.

She was 15 years old at the time and had just been hit by a car on Panama Lane near Akers Road.

Her mother, Stephanie, said paramedics count to the number 30 before halting attempts to resuscitate. The paramedic working to revive Angeleigh that day made it to 20 seconds when she took a small breath.

"It was really close," Stephanie Kumpel said.

That was more than two years ago.

Angeleigh Kumpel, now an 18-year-old aspiring pediatrician, has a GPA of 4.3 and is likely to graduate in the top 3 percent of her class. She was accepted to seven colleges and plans to attend UCLA next school year.

"We worked hard," Stephanie Kumpel said.

The accident two years ago left her daughter paralyzed on her left side. She suffered a broken pelvis and tibia bone and sustained traumatic injuries to her frontal lobe. Angeleigh had to learn how to "eat, talk, use the bathroom and eventually walk."

"I definitely was determined to get back to school," she said.

She missed the second semester of her sophomore year and completed a schedule of vision, speech, occupational and physical therapy from February to August of 2012.

She tacked on weekly tutoring in math and completed two summer school courses.

She said one recent Monday, outside of the 1100 building where she takes honors physics at Ridgeview, that she still remembers returning to school for the first time since the accident her junior year.

Her friends acted like she didn't exist, and she said school was "so draining" she couldn't get through a full day.

But Kumpel ended most of her sentences that started with memories of taxing therapy, insensitive jokes or loneliness with a "but":

"But I made it," she said.

"But I'm here," she added in another thought.

"But I wouldn't let myself in any way perform less efficiently than I did before my accident," Kumpel said.

She earned four of Ridgeview High School's most esteemed academic honors earlier this month-- the President's Award For Educational Excellence, membership in the California Scholarship Federation, a Golden State Seal Merit Diploma and inclusion in the Ridgeview High School Top Scholars program.

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