As I walked up to the podium, I took a deep breath, ready to outshine the students of my 8th-grade class. As I was speaking, I overheard a small whisper between my classmates. “Is he dumb?” “No”, I thought. I was furious, but needed to stay calm. As I began my History presentation on Lewis and Clark, all I wanted to do was to escape the negative atmosphere that had consumed me since elementary school and let my peers know that I could achieve as much as anyone. I just needed extra time to process the question and formulate my answer.
Ever since I began learning to read, I struggled with speech delay, reading comprehension, and processing, which lead to negative stigmas about me. I was made fun of and ignored by other kids because I didn’t have the ability to express myself. I just wanted to play. People thought that I wasn’t as smart or as “elite” as they were, which made me question certain things about myself. I always wondered how I could become successful, often leaving me feeling frustrated and confused. I wasn’t as smart or talented as the other kids.
When I was in 5th grade, I was introduced to the “IEP” program, an Individualized Academic Plan for children with learning disabilities. I am currently still enrolled. IEP offered great services, but I was hesitant to receive the help and would argue with my parents because I did not want to accept the fact that I was educationally challenged. I hoped that middle school would be a turning point, but it just got worse.
That was until August 16, 2015.
On the first day of high school, I was anxious and ready to start a new chapter of my life. This was the moment I had been waiting for: to start fresh, rebuild myself, and be able to prove to those who doubted me that I could achieve my goals. I was...