Yesterday I spoke to a class called Peer Insights at Hopkins High School. I hadn't been there since my graduation in 2005. It was weird going back and seeing all the changes that had been made. Memories came flooding back to me as I rolled down the halls to the classroom. I took the same class when I was a junior there and it was by far my favorite. It is designed to integrate people with disabilities and their peers; it is a great concept that gives insight to all types of situations. When I took it, we went on field trips, had guest speakers and did a lot of fun activities.
Upon approaching the class, I was welcomed with open arms as everyone was eager to hear me speak. I shared my story and talked about the challenges I've been through and the obstacles I have overcome. I also spoke about how I continue to stay positive despite my situation and what I'm doing now. They had tons of questions and I showed them my vent and how I move my wheelchair. Then I asked them to share their stories of any challenges or things in their life that they have gone through. I was delighted when hands went up and it was interesting to hear their stories.
Being at the high school was also somewhat of an emotional experience for me. At the age of 16, I was two months into my sophomore year there when my accident happened. After spending six months in the hospital and adjusting to life in a wheelchair with a disability, I went back my junior year. The long days were tough and learning how to be independent while others were assisting me with my every need was weighing on me. My positivity and determination over shined the struggles and I was able to make it through. I graduated on time with my class on June 7, 2005. When I went on the stage to collect my diploma I received a standing ovation, causing emotions to pour out as I sat facing the crowd on their feet. I'm proud of everything I've accomplished so far in my life and look forward to the many things to come.
I encourage those of you reading this to take a step back and acknowledge the challenges, tough times, obstacles, or other things in your life that you have or are facing. Think about the ways you dealt or coped to get through. If you are experiencing situations now in which you are searching for ways to overcome think positive, knowing that there are others out there for support and help.