As I enter the classroom, I knew I was different. I was the small petite boy we

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As I enter the
classroom, I knew I was different. I was
the small petite boy wearing these blue frame glasses with a twin sister. I had never been away from my twin sister, however, this school year the principal thought it was in the best interest
that we need a separate classroom. Adjusting to school with structured activities
and schedules was difficult for me because sitting still was not for me and my
brain needed constancy movement.
I remember my
second-grade teacher getting up upset with me because I could not remember my
sight words once it was presented in a book.
Around this time, my mother had me in and out of the doctor’s office
trying to figure out why I was struggling in school. It was frustrating to have to do all those
developmental assessments and why did the other kids made fun of me when I
stumbled ad stuttered trying to interpret the words on paper. I felt angry and
frustrated, I hated going to school. Of course, the teacher’s solution was to
retain me. Thank god, my mother fought
back.
I think back to
that crazy summer in between second grade and third grade. My mother had me with every reading coach and
tutor that she could afford in the Charlotte area. One of the coolest things,
about that summer, was that one of my reading tutor’s office was inside a barn.
It’s was nice being in nature with the animals, trying to learn how to
read. I just wanted to imagine that one of
the horses could read to me like Mister Ed from the TV Show that I remember
watching with my mother once.
It was not until mid-July of 2012, that my
life changed forever. My mother had applied for my sister and I to go to Union
Academy, a charter school. I remember my
mother picking us up from summer camp and explained that we had less than 24
hours before we started our new school.
Union Academy changed my life forever.
I remember walking
into Mrs. Kothera’s third-grade class still being one of the smallest boys in
class however, it was my fresh start and maybe I could hide my learning
disability. Mrs. Kothera was a senior
teacher and took me under her wings. She instilled the confidence I need in
myself. Since I had no trouble with
math and at that time was ahead of the class in Math. She would call upon me to
show the class, how to do a math problem. Over the next year, I learned how to persevere
through my challenges.
I remember going into Middle School, I had to complete intelligence tests. Have you ever had
to complete an intelligence test? It’s
the most borings thing in life. Having
to sit there and answer questions after questions. The results were the same as the prior years,
that reading and writing I was below average and math/problem-solving skills
were above average. I remember feeling
disappointed that I was still coming out below average in reading. All my hard work, and still no change in my
score.
My disability has
brought challenges but over the years. I don’t think I would change anything
about myself. It’s still struggling with reading and writing, and I had to work
twice as hard to utilize accommodation to be a successful student. My mother always told me that my learning
disability does not define me and who I may become. I can tell you that it
has taught me perseverance, endurance, and resilience. You know if life was easy, I would never learn
those things. All the obstacles I have had over the years have made me who I am,
to never give up on myself and my dreams.
One day, I hope to
run into that second-grade teacher that didn’t believe in me and I can be able
to say that I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2026
and that I’m working for a big successful engineering firm.

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