For many Westport youngsters, the path to college is clear and (at least relatively) smooth.
For some, it’s strewn with obstacles and challenges. They may be so formidable, it’s hard to even see college as a realistic option.
Which is why I’m turning today’s “06880” space to Elena Rossi. She’s a Staples High School senior. This is her story.
All my life I have struggled in school, due to my disabilities of autism spectrum disorder and ADD.
I have gone to 9 different schools, including 2 years at boarding school. As a junior I left boarding school, for Staples.
I was very scared to go to a big public high school, after so many specialized schools for children with disabilities. When I got to Staples, I was overwhelmed. The social groups were not inclusive.
But I focused on doing a good job there. I did not want to take medication. I wanted to do my best, being my true self.
For years I was told to take medication for ADD. I hated it. I put my foot down.
I just received a letter in the mail. I was awarded a Presidential Scholarship for academic achievement of $21,000 a year — for 4 years — from Manhattanville College.
All my life, I was told “you can’t do this or that.” I have been told I am not good enough for various things.
Receiving this letter is proof that a person with disabilities can rise above all else and succeed, when putting their mind to it.
All my teachers at Staples, especially my team of social workers, study skills and counselors through the Board of Education, have been a great support to help me achieve my goals.
I want to share my story with other people who suffer from disabilities, and have been told their whole life they are note able to do whatever it is they want to do.
This letter proves that anything is possible. I want to share my story so it can help others.