This last year has presented a challenge to our country and our citizens. COVID-19 has challenged us to be patient. Challenged us to be tolerant. Challenged us to be introspective. The pandemic and yes, the political climate has also challenged us to think about our differences, and about those who are different.

At Dollars 4 Tic Scholars – we honor students who are different due to their Tourette Syndrome, but who because of it, are so…so…so very strong. As every year, we bring you, with permission, the scholarship essays from our student applicants.

Be encouraged. There is a shared light in these students. They have understanding in their hearts, pride in their accomplishments, and confidence in their futures. Whatever life doles out…our students are up to the challenge. We feel it, and you will too. Read on.

Apostolos- Christos Lianos, 2021 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Graduate Student Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at the age of nine and my life stopped being the same after that. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles to be where I am today. I have been judged, discriminated, and yelled at several times during this phase of my life because of something I could not control. I was told several times [Read more here…]

Jason Ingerick, 2021 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars TS Superstar Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

Tourette’s comes with considerable challenges. It may even, at times, feel like nothing more than a challenge, in and of itself. For a year now, I have been faced with the challenge of suddenly moving to a 100% online curriculum, including chemistry and biology labs. This has been particularly difficult [Read more here…]

Taylore Ashton, 2021 Recipient, Renewable Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship 

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”, this seemingly simple quote by Albert Einstein may just sound like another inspirational post on Facebook, however, this perfectly explains my outlook on life. Beginning as a freshman in high school I began to notice sudden changes, an inability to focus [Read more here…]

Virginia Williams, 2021 Recipient, Renewable Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid,” noted Einstein. As a child, I felt convinced that I was not “smart enough.” I have Tourette’s disorder, and my tics were so distracting that  I could not finish timed tests, and homework would [Read more here…]

Maxwell Plenby, 2021 Recipient, Renewable Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

My story with Tourette Syndrome began 11 years ago at the age of six. I was diagnosed after waking up one day with uncontrollable movements including banging my head forwards and turning my body to both sides repeatedly. This was very uncomfortable, especially considering [Read more here…]

Annabelle Griffin, 2021 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship sponsored by the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation

As a fourteen-year-old girl, I sat on the cold doctor’s office table, terrified and confused as to what was happening with my body. It had been an extremely stressful few months, learning that my family had to move across the country. I felt like I had no control over my life, and increasingly, I had no control [Read more here…]

Read on to learn about more of our impressive 2021 applicants!

Brandon Lucas

At the age of eleven, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. During this time, I did not quite comprehend how much my life was going to drastically change. After my diagnosis, I entered middle school, and it could not have gone worse. I remember walking into class and struggling to hold my tics in because I did not want my friends or [Read more here…]

Jake Totarsky

Tourette’s – uncontrollable repetitive movements or unwanted sounds called tics, such as repeatedly blinking eyes, shrugging shoulders, or blurting out offensive words. Every second. Every minute. Every hour of every day. I have tics. It’s been something I’ve struggled with for since the beginning of 6th grade. My tics come in all forms. [Read more here…]

Brooklyn Eastman

“Hello, my name is Brooklyn Eastman. I have Tourette”. This is my typical introduction. I have always been an outgoing, fun-loving person. I love to meet new people, talk to strangers, make new friends and connections. Tourette has allowed me to do all these and more. My journey to Tourette was challenging. I saw the family doctor, a GI doctor, [Read more here…]

Ashlynn Hill

As a person who has been recently diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, I can definitely say that the past few months have not been the easiest for me personally. I have always had smaller, not as noticeable tics throughout my entire life. However,  the past several months my tics have dramatically increased and have [Read more here…]

Ethan Port-Chaikin

Living with Tourette’s Syndrome has been nothing short of an adventure. Though not everyone in my life is not as understanding as my father, I have been able to make countless friends who love the person I have become. I will never forget a specific night after a hard day at work, I had sat down with a friend against the wall outside [Read more here…]

Giovanni Kelly

My experience with Tourette’s Syndrome has fluctuated greatly throughout the years. Before I was officially diagnosed, I had a variety of tics that seemed to flourish in stressful situations, such as anticipation for a holiday or beginning a new school year. It was often difficult to concentrate in school because I was so preoccupied [Read more here…]

Ben Korenberg

A good story should begin at the very beginning.  I was born eighteen years ago in Vegas. I met all childhood developmental milestones way ahead of the targets. My mom, my brother, and I returned to Israel when I was five.  At that time the turmoil began with cursing, hitting, and body jerking. I was the kid who hit everyone [Read more here…]

Hayden Long

For as long as my memory serves me I have always dealt with the hindrances that result from Tourette Syndrome. I can’t recall a time where I wasn’t living in the shadow TS. Initial symptoms as a child, around the age of 5, were extreme mood swings. Next, I was tormented by urges to move and vocalize against my will. As I entered kindergarten I felt like I had little control over my [Read more here…]

Mollie May Brooks

Can you imagine having no control over what your body does? (BLINK) When I was 9, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. (SNORT) Tourettes Syndrome is a neurological disorder where your brain sends messages to your body to do something that you cannot control. (OPEN MOUTH WIDE) I would often snort my nose, blink my eyes and [Read more here…]

Brady Whelihan

My life has been challenging living with Tourette. My neurologist says I have intractable Tourette Syndrome which means it can’t be helped much by medication. I was diagnosed at six, so I’ve always known what caused me to make noises and move my body. But I don’t think my family or me ever thought it would be this severe for [Read more here…]

Thomas Crawford

Having Tourette’s Syndrome is weird. There is much more to it than simple, uncontrollable urges or random spouts of energy. The disruption it causes, especially in school, made it difficult to learn, and even for others around me to learn as well.  As a kids, my classmates would look at me strangely and wonder if something was wrong [Read more here…]

Brennen Kohlman

Growing up in my hometown of O’Fallon, Missouri, I participated in several activities and sports. Whether I was completing my homework assignments or engaging in soccer, I loved keeping busy by challenging my mind and body. I was a competitive person in all endeavors and didn’t mind working hard to reach my goals. Things changed  [Read more here…]

Treysn Harbert

When I was sixteen years old in 2016 my mother noticed some ongoing behaviors I had developed over a few months time. My mother had her suspicions since she was aware of some other family members with Tourette’s Syndrome. An appointment with a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome which is a nervous system disorder [Read more here…]

Applicant A

I have always been a good student and have always pushed myself to do the best I can and get good grades. In sixth grade, school stressed me out. I was worried to receive anything less than an A on my tests or assignments. I would spend most of my time in my room studying and barely did anything other than that on the weekends. At the end [Read more here…]

Applicant B

Throughout my life, I have faced a significant ongoing challenge. I learned that I had a body movement type of tourettes. The disorder, while not having a significant physical toll on my body, had a severe impact on my mind. I was constantly trying to control what actions anytime I was out in public. It began to take over my life in a negative way. It began to [Read more here…]

Applicant C

When I was six years old, my mother picked me up from school, and she noticed my head jerking. When my mother turned toward me, she had a curious look on her face and she immediately questioned my odd behavior by asking, “what are you doing?” and I replied, “I don’t know”.Then my mother said, “Wherever you picked that bad habit from, [Read more here…]

Applicant D

Recently, my family had some old VHS home videos converted onto a thumb drive. Watching them together has been wonderful, but it’s also been slightly surreal. Not only do I have almost no memory of the moments captured on video, but there are absolutely no signs of my Tourette’s syndrome, something that is now, to put it lightly, [Read more here…]