Growing up with Tourette has not been easy. I experienced bullying in school and in the community. There were many places, including theaters, restaurants, and grocery stores that I was unable to go because I was constantly glared at, judged, or the target of hurtful comments.
In spite of those things, TS has provided me with a platform for which I am forever grateful. Tourette has opened the door for me to speak to kids, adults, and teachers at many locations and even on the radio. Through speaking opportunities, I have been able to use TS as a platform to spread an awesome message of positivity, never-giving-up, and anti-bullying. I have also been able to speak one-on-one with younger children who have been recently diagnosed or are going through struggles. By serving in this way, I have helped others to be able to grow up without having Tourette be as big of a hurdle as it naturally is.
One particular special experience was going to Osage Middle School in central Missouri. It took me over three hours to get there, but the experience was worth the drive. I was scheduled to meet with sixth, seventh and eighth graders in three presentations. All of them went well, but when I finished the third group, a student came up to me and told me about himself. He told me that he has Tourette and was frequently teased by other kids about it. He hoped that my presentation helped kids understand that having a disability is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather something that can make people stronger. He texted me a month later and said that only one kid started to mess with him. When that happened, one of his friends told the bully about my presentation and said that it wasn’t cool to mess with others. Of all of the presentations I have shared, this is the one that had the greatest impact on me. I am happy that I drove for three hours to get there!
Being able to use Tourette as a platform to help other people is an incredible blessing and I have no plans to stop. TS has made my life challenging at times, but it has also provided me with opportunities that I never would have otherwise had. I have learned to be grateful for it.
I believe I deserve this scholarship because of the fact that I have not let Tourette slow me down, but rather have used it as a platform to make a positive difference in the world. As I go into my career as a teacher, I will make sure every single one of my students knows that no matter what they’re going through, they can truly make a great change in the world. They can’t let anything, or anyone, slow them down. This scholarship will help me continue my education, and keep me on the path of striving to make a positive difference in the world.