“Living With Dyslexia” Scholarship Essay
Throughout my years as a dyslexic student, I have spent most of my weekends reading ahead in all my subjects to keep up with my classmates. I did not want my learning disability to define who I was in the classroom, and I wanted to prove to my peers that even though I was an inclusion student with an active individual education plan (IEP), I could still complete all my homework assignments on time.
However, as a fall semester senior at Abraham Lincoln High School, I realized that my academic goals did not have the full backing of the Special Education department. During an IEP meeting, the head of the department told my parents that my struggles as a dyslexic student would be significantly lowered if I decided to opt out of the high school diploma track. In other words, I would no longer need to try hard in my classes, and I would lead an easy student life. Many of the other disabled students jumped at this opportunity.
In contrast, even though my senior courses were very challenging, I was able to push through and graduated with not only my diploma but a 4.0 GPA and the Class of 2015 Outstanding Achievement in Lifelong Learning Award. During my senior year, I became a Police Activities League Law Enforcement PAL cadet with the SFPD. I firmly believe that I would not have had the ability to go against the recommendation of the Special Education department if it weren’t for the confidence I gained as a PAL Cadet.
With the program’s emphasis on leadership ability, community service, and life skills learning, I was able to evolve from a timid person into a confident Cadet who would actively participate in weekly meeting discussions and was unafraid of going to community service events to engage with the residents of San Francisco. At each event, I made it my priority to get out of my comfort zone and seek to communicate with the public to overcome my shyness. When I aged out of the program I had over one-hundred hours of community service hours under my belt and a Senior Cadet rank.
As a sophomore at the City College of San Francisco, I achieved so many incredible feats I would never have thought possible. I have won numerous merit scholarships as a City College student, such as the Osher Endowment Community College Scholarship. I also had the excellent opportunity of interning at the SFPD Community Engagement Division with Sergeant Ray Padmore. I learned a wealth of information about the department from him. In May of this year, I graduated with High Honors from City College of San Francisco with an Associate of Science transfer degree in Administration of Justice and became a lifetime standing member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society. However, I want to achieve more.
Currently, I am a junior at San Francisco State University majoring in Criminal Justice Studies and receive services from the DPRC – Disability Program and Resource Center. In spite of having a learning disability, I possess strong determination, perseverance, and firmly believe in always giving 100% effort in everything I do.
As a former SFPD intern and Senior Cadet, I interacted with the community and assisted officers with tasks. My future career goal is to be a Community Police Services Aide with the City and County of San Francisco. Having a learning disability, such as dyslexia is part of my identity. I will always have many obstacles to overcome, but it has made me a stronger person. I will never let my disability stop me from being successful in life. Just like Cadets need to support each other for the entire platoon to succeed, I need the generous financial support of the Gemm Learning scholarship to succeed in my academic and career endeavors.
This essay was submitted to our Living With Dyslexia or Auditory Processing Disorder scholarship in 2019 and was rated Highly Commended.