By Kim Segal and John Zarrella, CNN
Hollywood, Florida (CNN) – Connor Boss appears to be just like any other contestant waiting to sign into the Miss Florida USA pageant until it is her turn to fill out the registration sheet. Boss, with her nose almost touching the paper, has trouble reading the form.
Boss, 18, is the first legally blind contestant to compete for Miss Florida USA. Ten years ago, she was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a hereditary eye disease that caused her vision to get progressively worse.
"It affects my retina and my central vision, so my peripheral vision is intact," said Boss. "When I'm looking at people, I try and look around. People take me as being rude but it's hard for me to focus straight forward."
Focusing is not a problem for Boss when it comes to her goals. Boss, a freshman at Florida State University, graduated high school with a 4.2 grade point average.
"All of her tests ended up being read to her, even the SAT and ACT for college were read to her," said her mother, Traci Boss. It was not only academia where Boss excelled; she was her high school senior class president and captain of the cheerleading squad.