Junior Chapin Kartsounes is not your average height, yet she manages to keep her head up

Tess DeGayner, Assistant Editor

Standing on her tippy toes, trying to get a glimpse of the field, junior Chapin Kartsounes slowly begins to give up. She struggles to get to the front of the student section to see more than people’s back sides. At 16 years old, she stands four feet, two inches high, the average height of an eight year old.

With two average height parents without any history of dwarfism, the odds of being born the eligible height for dwarfism is one in 25,000. That is a 0.004 percent chance of dealing with what Kartsounes lives with every day.

“If I could change it I would,” Kartsounes said. “It would make doing simple things so much easier like finding a homecoming dress and being able to see better at concerts.”

Kartsounes is the shortest person at FHS. She often struggles with daily tasks that people of average height take for granted. For example, her driving a car results in pains in her lower back and hips.

“Even though I have pedal extenders, it’s harder for me to drive because I have to switch the pedal extenders on and off,” Kartsounes said. “This puts stress on my back and hips because my feet dangle off the seat and I cannot rest them on the ground like everyone else.”

At first she traveled around the country to talk to doctors about her body. Now she continues to go to meet people of a similar stature as her. These people have helped her relate to other problems they face.

“I started going to conventions when I was one,” Kartsounes said. “My mom took me to see a specialist at the first convention I went to. I have gone to them ever since. I meet new people and I am able to connect with people who understand what it is like to have dwarfism.”

Most little people are left with no choice, but to undergo treatments with their spine. Although her spine is curved, Kartsounes is fortunate enough to not have had a surgery yet.

“I am lucky that I haven’t had surgery yet,” Kartsounes said. “Most little people I know have had at least one surgery and some people have had more surgeries than their age number. I will most likely need hip replacement surgery when I am older. It could be anywhere from next year to age 70.”

Television shows have provided insight on how life could be for a little person. It is through TV students can learn about the little people community that Chapin is part of.

“TV shows like ‘Our Little Family,’ mostly portray how little people really are,” Kartsounes said. “It shows how families of little people struggle in the real world but also how they succeed. I know basically everyone on ‘Little Women, LA.’ They don’t act like how they do on the TV show so that one in particular doesn’t accurately portray us as little people.”

One day, Kartsounes dreams of becoming a cosmetologist or maybe even an actress.

“Makeup is something I like to do in my free time,” Kartsounes said. “It gives people another thing to look at other than my height. And it makes me feel more comfortable in my own body. Acting gives me a chance to step away from myself for a little bit and an opportunity to be anything or anyone I want.”

Even though people look down on her- literally- she finds a way to make it through each day. She hopes to one day become a cosmetologist or an actress and she is not going to let something like her height stop her. Kartsounes is able to dismiss the fact that she is a little shorter than everyone else because she cannot change it; she was born this way.