Second in a series. Read part one.
It was on a weekend in March 2017. My high school classmates told me to check my admissions portal for the University of Southern California (USC).
My mother and I opened the portal, and we saw on the right-hand side of the page a banner that said, “Welcome to USC,” with a thumbs-up logo. We clicked on the admissions decisions button. What happened next, I shall never forget for the rest of my life: My mother started reading the letter, and that was the moment I found out I’d gotten into the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. I was in awe because this had been my dream school since I was 9 years old.
I knew at that moment that my life would never be the same again. I also knew that my parents’ dreams for me were coming true.
The road to grasping those dreams was not an easy one for me or for my mother, due to my diagnosis of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and a visual impairment.
I was often underestimated as a student in elementary and middle school because they could not see my academic potential. My mother continuously had to fight with both school districts for my individualized education program (IEP). We even had to get a lawyer and enlist numerous advocates. This went on until I reached high school, which was a charter school founded by the USC Rossier School of Education, called the USC Hybrid High School. That was the first group of teachers and administrators who really saw my potential. I will be forever grateful for their guidance and support — they brought me to where I am today.
I am now a proud student at USC Annenberg, majoring in journalism. I am also a candidate for a minor in digital studies, with honors, through the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
My goal is to become a journalist with a special emphasis on people with physical disabilities. I want to tell stories that will make people think about their own lives so that they can change the world. I hope that my work can inspire people with disabilities to reach for their dreams. We should never underestimate the power of hope.
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