Elena Rossi: She’s A Winner!

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.

Elena Rossi, with her Manhattanville letters.

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.

24 responses to “Elena Rossi: She’s A Winner!

  1. Karl S. Taylor

    Such good news to wake up to. Thanks, Dan, for sharing Elena’s story.

  2. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    Always encouraging, reading others’ journeys on the complex autism spectrum.:-)

    Thanks for this,Dan!

  3. Congratulations. Wishing you much continued success! The sky’s the limit!

  4. What a wonderful achievement! Congratulations. You have proven that you can do anything you want, if you try hard enough.

  5. That is simply awesome – congratulations Elena on your college acceptance, scholarship, and most important, your perseverance and discovery of your inner strength.

  6. Eva Lopez Reyman

    Congratulation to her, family ,Staples, social workers, and counselors through the Board of Education.

  7. Diane Yormark

    Congratulations on your wonderful achievement! I’m glad to hear to public school is finally stepping up to help this population of very special students. Bravo!

  8. Incredible and inspiring Elena! Congratulations and amazing grit and determination!

  9. Truly great stuff.
    To achieve what she has in this town where being “included” by other kids doesn’t happen in so many instances, combined with the fact that many, many parents just give their kids whatever they want (no, I didn’t say everybody does it), seeing her persevere and earn every bit of her current success is fantastic.

  10. Fantastic and congrats!

  11. Anthony LoFrisco Jr

    Wow Elena! So great. You deserve it. Congrats!

  12. So excited for you, Elena! Your belief in yourself paid off!

  13. Danielle Spies

    You work so hard and continue to thrive because of the strong determination and belief in yourself. Such amazing news – and so well deserved – keep in touch with your Staples community.

  14. Michelle Ludel

    Congratulations Elena! Anything is possible when you put your mind towards it. I wish you continued success!

  15. Congratulations! Such a great story of hard work paying off.

  16. So proud of you Elena!!!! Through your determination & hard work you have finally achieved what others have deemed as “impossible”. Can’t wait to see what life has for you next!!!

  17. Marilyn Harding

    WOW! You deserve that scholarship and more. I write a “little” column for a local newspaper and I would love to interview you for a story I’m working on. The article talks about the special brilliance people with autism bring to American style. Please email me at marilynharding@optimum.net so we can talk about it. Looking foreward to hearing from you. Marilyn Harding


  19. Go Elena!! Your determination in the face of adversity is so inspiring to me! A true success story- wishing you all the best as you further your education. PS my mom attended Manhattanville back in the day & loved it : )

  20. I love this story. She should be so proud. Perseverance is a powerful thing. She has it in spades.

  21. Bill Boyd..Staples 66

    HERE’S THE BEST PART (for me at least)…You are an inspiration to ALL of Us! That we can achieve and succeed when we persevere!
    W E L L. D O N E !

  22. Thank You all for the congratulations. And thank you to everyone I know who commented. Love hearing what everyone has to say.

  23. Daryl Styner, DDS

    Dear Elena,
    You deserve to be so proud of yourself. What you proved was that hard work, focus and perseverance will be rewarded. How spectacular!