I am overwhelmed with joy!!
Here is my winning essay.
Growing up I learned different nourishes courage, adversity is the ultimate test of determination, and hardship is life strengthening me. I am a different thinker with ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, CAPD and visual disturbances.
My life is like a glass of ice water. The rim of the glass represents overcoming to achieve my goals, the water, me with my differences, and the ice is my tenacity. Along my journey, as I keep adding ice, the water rises and cannot be held back. It continually spills over the rim. My differences cannot hold me back. With unending determination, I rise and overcome to achieve my goals.
I process information differently than most people. I think and problem solve out of the box. Frankly, I try to destroy the box. School is very much in the box. I have weathered an educational system not built for me, that focused more on my weaknesses than it ever cared about my strengths. On my fantastic journey I found me, my voice and my courage to grow. I learned to self-advocate, to actively communicate with my teachers and ask for the things I need. I know my trials, they haven’t defined me but how I have responded to them has shaped me into an empathetic, fierce, compassionate, driven, perseverant, resilient person. I have realized what I put after I am: defines me. When I say I am different it is a blessing because my different sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.