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Transcript of Literacy Timeline
Literacy Timeline August 10th No Talking Oral Apraxia Honey Bunny Bad Grades Overcoming Speech Problem Honors/AP Classes Lupus THS Graduation Smittcamp Scholarship Fibromyalgia Teaching Woodlake High School My parents were told that they should expect their second child around the date of August 10th, but that was the day I chose to arrive. When the doctor saw my parents, he was shocked and said, "no one is born on their due date!" My parents hoped that it was a sign I was going to be an 'easy' baby and were eager to bring me home to meet my sister. Unfortunately I was not the easy baby as my parents had hoped. For some unknown reason I was unable to talk or verbally communicate. The only way I could be understood was to scream, cry, and bang on things. My older sister had developed normally and all my peers were already talking so my mom knew something was wrong. She took me to every doctor she could, but all the professionals said and I was fine. She continued to fight for me until she was given a straight answer. Eventually I was diagnosed with oral apraxia, a neurological disorder that affects speech. The doctors told my parents that I would never be able to talk and I would have to attend a 'special' school for my entire life. They described my situation as a smart person that was trapped in a body that did not function correctly. Although my parents were devastated, they immediately put me into speech therapy where I learned sign language. When I was four I began talking and communicating verbally. Unlike what my parents were told, I was able to attend regular school. My delayed language skills, however, made reading and writing incredibly difficult for me. My grades suffered and I didn't particularly care for school since I had to work so hard. My perspective on school started to change when I had Mrs. Yochum in fourth grade. She was the only teacher who was compassionate and challenged me to do more than I thought possible. She would affectionately call me "honey bunny" and she was reason I first considered becoming a teacher. Despite Mrs. Yochum's help and enthusiasm, my grades continued to suffer. My speech problem made learning so difficult that I began to hate school. I didn't understand why I had to work so hard just to receive average grades. School became a place of frustration and anxiety. These negative feelings also affected my grades, which created a vicious cycle that resulted in more dislike of school then lower grades. I officially overcame my speech problem in sixth grade. In the same year I had a teacher that pushed me to succeed, I 'graduated' speech therapy, and I received my first set of straight A's. This was one of the best accomplishments in my life since I finally broke through the barrier that held me back for so long. I didn't realize it then, but this moment would define me for the rest of my life since I would use it to motivate me through any challenge. Once I overcame my speech problem and started getting good grades, I was placed into honors classes. Suddenly the school realized I was a bright student and wanted to place me in all the advanced classes. I was nervous about taking these classes since I just recently started to succeed, but my family encouraged me to accept this challenge. I was immediately placed into the academic fast track and I loved the challenge, especially since I was still getting straight A's. While I was finishing junior high, my sister was diagnosed with lupus, which means wolf in Latin. Her health decline rapidly and suddenly we were going to the doctors along with occasional ER visits. My sister became my top priority and school didn't have my full attention. I had to stand up and act as the older sister for my sister. In 2009 I graduated high school with a 4.5 GPA and was ranked #3 in my entire class. I received numerous local scholarship and was accepted to various universities. I proved all my childhood doctors wrong by successfully conquering my speech problem and graduating top of my class at a regular high school. I was awarded the Smittcamp Family Honors College scholarship, which pays for four years of tuition, housing, a laptop, parking, and much more. The scholarship was a tremendous academic moment for me since it was based on my success in high school. With this full ride, I planned to graduate college in four years with both my Bachelor's in history and my teaching credential. It was a difficult and unheard of plan, but I knew that with the right motivation I could do it. My academic success continued in college and I was talking at least 20 units a semester. Unfortunately my hard work came at a price. During my junior year, my health started to decline. I was constantly exhausted and in pain. I could hardly get out of bed in the morning let alone go to class. I spent my entire summer going to various doctors to just be dismissed. It was difficult to remain motivated in school while I was plagued with an unknown illness. After a year, I finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Eventually I learned how to manage my illness and its sometimes debilitating symptoms. This allowed me to continue to accomplish my goals for college and I started the credential program. I was finally doing what I loved and I realized that teaching was the job I was meant to do. My passion intensified, which motivated me even more to not let my illness hold me back. My goal to graduate college in four years with a Bachelor's in history and my credential, which I accomplished this year. In May I will be graduating Fresno State with a 3.97 GPA, Smittcamp Honors, my Bachelor's in History, and my Single Subject teaching credential. Along with my success in college, I have accepted a social science position at Woodlake High School. I'm so excited to use my past experiences as a student with a disability to motivate students who are reluctant in school