Finding My Way: A Lawrence Senior Tells Her Story

This week we are thrilled to have a guest blogger who speaks to us with the authoritative, candid voice of recent experience. Adrianna graduates this May from Lawrence Upper School at what will be our 10th Commencement.

I found her essay poignant and powerful. I asked her if she would share it with our greater community of students, parents and professionals; and she graciously and courageously agreed.

Adrianna’s journey started with the heartbreak of feeling invisible in primary school due to her struggles with dyslexia. Her situation created a crisis at home for her and her parents. The feelings and experiences faced by both Adrianna and her parents resonate deeply with those who have dyslexia or know dyslexia ‘up close and personal’ as I do.

She is a delightful and articulate young woman who has turned the stumbling block of dyslexia into a stepping stone for her journey forward. Over the years at Lawrence, her aspirations for learning have been rescued by a program and a faculty trained and dedicated to building the competence and the confidence of children with learning differences.

Adrianna is has been accepted into Chatham College in the fall to study Interior Architecture.

My parents knew I was dyslexic in kindergarten. They had me repeat kindergarten to give me more time. I discovered I was dyslexic in third grade when my parents and I saw I couldn’t keep up in reading and math. In my classes, it was hard to focus and learn because the classes were big and I was in the back, one of many students. I was pulled out of class for a small reading group, but the teacher had to focus more on the kids acting badly than me who wasn’t bad. I just needed more time to have things explained to me. My parents started to look at other schools instead of the public school I was attending. They were even thinking about moving out of state to find a better school for me. I felt stupid. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I was depressed, lonely, and bullied. Having dyslexia didn’t help. It was a hard time for me.

My parents were worried for me. They saw I stopped working as hard. One late night my Mom was crying asking God what to do because she was so worried about me. She started looking through this local family magazine and read the ads in the back thinking I needed a tutor. She found an ad for a school that focuses on dyslexia and it was right in the area! She called them the next day and my parents went to visit. They fell in love with Lawrence School. They loved the small classes and the program. The director of admissions suggested I come in and shadow for a day. I was really nervous that they wouldn’t like me. My shadow student showed me all the amazing things about Lawrence. I fell in love with all the teachers. They were so kind and made sure everyone really understood what they were learning. I loved the small classes. No one was invisible. After I got picked up from Lawrence I told my parents how much I loved Lawrence. My parents said they were thinking about sending me there instead of the local school. We applied and I got accepted. I can’t imagine if I had stayed at my former school. I can’t imagine where I would be now. I don’t think I would have graduated from high school. I would not be going to visit colleges. I would not have been able to imagine going to college. I definitely couldn’t see myself planning to major in interior architecture.

Lawrence helped with my reading and math. I read a lot better than I ever would have a few summers ago. I read all four books in the Twilight series and my mom cried because I used to hate to read anything. It was painful for my parents to see me not like to read because they love reading everything.

Math is still hard but I push myself because I know how important it is. Junior year I took two math courses to catch up. Senior year I am doing it again to make sure I understand different areas of math and because I know it will be required in my personal and professional life. It is helpful that I know that my weaknesses are in math and reading because I know the tools to help me. For example, I sometimes use Google Voice Search to help me spell a word. Also, I know I can solve math problems with a calculator. However, there are times when I am going to ask for help. I know what skills I have to work on and how I can try to get better. By reading more and more, I’m getting better at reading which is a really good thing. My mom practices math with me or help me with a math question that I might not understand. Although math is still hard for me, I don’t give up because I know it’s very important in my life.

Lawrence has done so much for me since the day I came there. I am really happy my parents found Lawrence and that they let me go there. Lawrence has helped more than I can say. There have been some amazing years here and I’m going to miss it when I graduate.

Adrianna W.
Lawrence School Class of 2014

Congratulations to Adrianna and the entire class of 2014 for making this journey and reaching your milestone – and thank you to all the parents, teachers and administrators who have supported them. Your stories have great power to inspire and instruct.

We see you!

We hear you!

We celebrate you and learn from you!

Please keep sharing your journey with us!

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About Lou Salza - Lawrence School

Lou Salza is the head of Lawrence School in northeast Ohio. Lawrence School is an independent day school serving students with learning differences and attention deficits. Students receive an exceptional education that teaches to their distinct learning styles, ignites potential, and inspires academic and social success.
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One Response to Finding My Way: A Lawrence Senior Tells Her Story

  1. Sandi says:

    A beautiful piece made even more so by your intro and closing comments. Best wishes and safe travels to you, Adrianna, as you journey forth from Lawrence well-equipped with tools and strategies for success.

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