April 28th, 2013

2013 Anne Ford Scholarship Winner

Holly Schallert – Acceptance Speech

Hi, I’m Holly Schallert. It’s so wonderful to be here with you as the recipient, along with Ross, of the 2013 Anne Ford Scholarship Award.
There I was, in kindergarten, a kid who loved learning but was nowhere when to came to learning to read. My dyslexia and ADHD held hands all through my elementary school years, and in sixth grade, I was barely reading at a second grade level. I did my best to hide my “secret struggles,” never letting others know how lost, discourages and even helpless I felt. But that was the old Holly. This is me now.
I stand before you as a graduating high school senior who has aced several Advanced Placement classes, (half of which are in English studies.. that’s right… a dyslexic kid excelling in English!) and am graduating with the seventh highest Grade Point Average in my class.  Did it take long nights studying, going to summer school, fighting for accommodations, meeting with teachers, and working longer and harder than I thought humanly possible? You bet it did. But it was worth it because it shaped me into the empathetic, hard-working and driven individual I am today.  My success only proves that, if they push themselves, kids with LD can, and do, succeed.
My dyslexia became a trainer of sorts for other challenges in my life, and having to find solutions to address the challenges of LD really got my creative juices going. This creativity spilled over into the visual arts, which has become a billboard for my thoughts. When it came time to choose a career path for college study, product design seemed to the perfect choice for me. Both my innovative problem solving and artistic abilities will be maximized in this field. Imagine my surprise (and relief!)  when the dean of one of the country’s most prestigious design schools encouraged people with LD to apply because of their proven creative potential.
Looking forward, I see my LD not as a hindrance but rather as a filter to recognize and seize opportunities. Sure, my struggles with spelling and reading and not going away, but would not be the passionate, understanding, and creative person I am today without my LD. For that I am forever thankful.
Thank you NCLD and thank you all for being here tonight and showing your support of NCLD and the work they do to support and encourage people with LD like me.

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