Shelton teen’s story of overcoming adversity is told on TV

A Shelton teenager’s ability to persevere despite a medical disorder recently was featured in a television segment that aired on Fox-TV stations around the country, including in Connecticut and New York.

Taylor Chavez, a senior at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield, was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) when he was in the fifth grade.

But he now does well in school, is an integral member of the Notre Dame hockey team, and holds a part-time job.

His story was featured on "The Real Winning Edge," a Fox-TV show with 10-minute segments that highlight young people who have excelled despite facing struggles. Each segment is introduced by a well-known personality, and in the case of Chavez it was a professional hockey player, Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames.

Friends learned more about him

Taylor said his friends enjoyed watching the TV segment that highlighted him. “They learned more about me,” he said.

The segment was filmed in February both at Notre Dame and at a school hockey game.

Taylor said watching himself on the television screen was a unique experience. “It was weird seeing my face on TV,” he said.

Being filmed for the show, he said, also was awkward. “I’m not used to having a camera in my face,” he said.

Acting up when younger

Taylor said his ADD diagnosis came after he began acting up in school. “I was always shouting out and had trouble focusing on work,” he recalled.

Symptoms of ADD include inattention, distractibility, disorganization, and procrastination.

“I didn’t want to annoy the people around me,” Taylor said.

His father, Trent Chavez, said teachers made the family aware of the issues their son was having in school.

The maturing process

Overcoming the condition was a challenge, Taylor said, helped a lot by the natural maturing process. “Friends and family have supported me as I’ve gotten older,” he said. “I’ve been outgrowing it.”

Trent said his son’s perseverance is inspirational. “We’re very proud of him,” Trent said. “Everyone always talks about how he has a heart of gold.”

His mother, Nicole, said she has been impressed by her son’s progress. “He’s basically overcome it with his maturity level and knowing how to control his behavior in school and in other enclosed places,” she said.

Nicole said Taylor now frequently makes honors in school while also keeping active with his hockey involvement.

Mom on show: 'They did a nice job'

Nicole liked the TV segment, but before it aired had been wondering how her son would be portrayed.

“They did a nice job,” she said. “He’s gotten some real nice comments. People now look at him with more understanding and sensitivity.”

She said being public about overcoming ADD has enabled her family to learn more about others with similar issues.

“When you share something like this, you find out there’s a lot of other people in the community going through the same thing,” Nicole said. “We knew we weren’t alone.”

Keeping active

Taylor works part-time at the Sports Center of Connecticut skating facility in Shelton. He was first introduced to hockey 10 years ago at the facility.

In the summer, he has worked at Shelton Parks & Rec camps.

Hockey is a central part of his life — especially during the winter season. “I’m always working out or training,” he said.

Other favorite pastimes are playing video games and hanging out with friends.

In addition, he looks forward to family vacations to such places as California, Florida and Virginia.

On to college in the fall

Taylor hopes to attend Becker College in Worcester, Mass., later this year to study video game programming. He said a career in this field would combine his interests in science and computers.

Becker also has a hockey team, he pointed out.

Taylor was born in New York City but his family moved to Connecticut when he was an infant. He attended Shelton public schools when younger as well as St. Lawrence School in Shelton. He has two younger sisters, Sierra and Dakota.

Editor's note: The version of this story in the March 27 print edition inaccurately stated that Taylor Chavez is a high school junior. He is a senior. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused.