Kenneth and Donna adopted me at birth. I was born with many health issues, doctors believed that I would be severely mentally and physically challenged for the rest of my life. My parents weren't willing to surrender; even after an MRI test sowed that I'm missing the bridge that connects the hemisphere of the brain. My parents placed me in physical therapy at the age of 18 months and worked with me daily to overcome my physical and mental deficiencies. As you can see today, I have proven them all wrong. Our hard work has paid off and my physical and intellectual achievements speak for themselves.
I was raised in a typical American house hold environment in Riverside, California. I lived with my parents, and my younger adopted sister. When I was three years old my parents divorced. My sister and I remained with my mother and visited my father on alternating weekends.
I became a full time student by the age of 3. I attended Sunshine Preschool for the mentally and physically handicapped children, then by age 5 I entered Jackson Elementary school where I remained in their special education program. By first grade, I enrolled in a private catholic school called St. Thomas the Apostle School. Attending a private school allowed me to receive my religious education as well. St. Thomas not only offered challenging courses with higher standards but it allowed me to get closer to God. For example, religion was part of my daily schedule, and an A started at 93%. Socially, being a very shy and sensitive person, for the most part, appreciated the intimacy of a small school.
Once I started to attend Arlington High School, I felt excited and nervous, because I did not know many people. I could not wait to meet new peers and see the structure of my courses. It felt very different because the school was larger, it had class periods, and there were different teachers for each course. To my surprise, high school felt easier and the periods felt shorter than at the private school. Eventually, I felt comfortable and I opened myself to meet new people, and made a bunch of friends. I choose to get involved in extracurricular activities. I joined the girls' basketball team and several clubs. I am so proud of myself for earning straight A's, while being involved in the community through volunteering, representing my school as an athlete, working my first job at the YMCA, fulfilling my role as an AVID tutor, and balancing my family responsibilities and enjoying my friends. I always knew I loved science, but it wasn't until I took chemistry my junior year that I found my niche. And now, I'm looking forward to pursuing a degree in chemical engineering.
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