At three-years-old, Breanna Carpico has her first eye alignment operation. Instead of surgery changing the way others saw her eyes, it eventually changed the way she saw the world.
“I don’t really even think about that a lot because it doesn’t really stop me from doing anything,” she said.
After three surgeries over the course of her lifetime, Carpico’s eyes are now inoperable due the amount of scar tissue left from previous operations. Due to strabismus, Carpico is unable to see in both eyes at the same time and without high-strength contacts, Carpico said, her eyes would be cross-eyed.
Early in Elementary School, Carpico made attempts to participate in sports but eventually gave up due to her lack of depth perception. “I worked really hard at it but I just came to the realization that I just wasn’t going to excel like the other kids no matter how much effort I put into it,” she said.
Bullied by other students at Schenectady Christian School (now Mekeel Christian Academy), Carpico found comfort in reading at least three hours every day. “I just became a bookworm and kept away from everyone really,” she said.
Her family decided to bring her into public education upon entering seventh grade as a result of her poor experience in middle school. “I couldn’t imagine where I’d be now if I stuck with it. I’d probably be very introverted,” said Carpico.
At Niskayuna High School, Carpico was finally able to embrace strabismus but still struggled opening up to open up to others. “I had to learn to look people in the eye without being scared that I looked different,” she said.
In her senior year, she grew comfortable around a different type of lens, rediscovering a passion for photography with an internship at Union College as an event photographer and participating in art shows. As a child, she would often model in photo shoots with her mother, a hair stylist. “I was always more interested in the guy taking the photos himself than getting my hair and makeup done,” she said.
Today, Carpico tries to have a camera on her at all times but shares her photos very rarely. It often takes her months to become comfortable with sharing her work, even for art shows. “I have so many photos that I’ve never shown anyone,” she said.
Carpico decided to pursue graphic design at Hudson Valley this June in hopes she would be able to use the program to excel in photography, possibly pursuing photojournalism. “I just feel as though there’s a lot of things we don’t see because we’re too privileged,” said Carpico.
Last week, being accepted into the Disney internship program for the spring semester, a program she’s been anticipating for the last two years, Carpico said, she’s expecting her experience in Florida could alter her future path. “Working at Disney is going to change who I am as a person and I hope it’s in a good way but I don’t know where it’s going to leave me with my ambitions,” she said.
She looks at her father, a carpenter, who built her current home in Niskayuna over six years without an arm for inspiration on where to go with her future. “I love how he picked that as a profession because he had to overcome so much,” she said. When Extreme Home Makeover was filmed in the Capital Region in 2007, Custom Carpentry by Carpico Builders helped participate in the project.
With her future undecided, despite challenges ahead, Carpico leans toward build her future through passions. “I don’t want to be miserable so I’m kind of leaning towards doing something I love,” she said.