Determined. I came into foster care when I was five years old. I was roughly bounced around the system until my parents adopted me when I was eight. Starting second grade I couldn't even speak in a full sentence let alone read, write, or do math. My behavior was so terrible the school system tried to ban me from entering a classroom. Children feared me and adults felt pity. I was shunned and ostracized by everyone. My new parents stepped up to help. To get me off the extreme medications the state had put me on they started me running as they decreased and ultimately discontinued the medications. I often felt bad about myself because I could tell I was behind all my peers in school. Everyone seemed to be able to do everything better than me. Running was the first thing I found I could do as well or even better than others. It gave me confidence. The better I ran the more confidence I gained to try and learn things and behave in school. I joined a club team and went from finishing in the top 20 to consistently being in the top three. I started doing better in my classes. I made varsity in both track and cross country as a Freshman and Sophomore in high school.
I am still catching up with learning all the things I got behind in the first eight years of my life. I ask not to be judged for my need to catch up but by the standards I set for myself and the progress I am continuing to make. Like a good race, I pace myself in academics. I may not be in the lead right now but I am staying steady and watching the front. I am determined to keep up so that on the final lap which is getting my college degree I will, at the finish, find myself standing on the podium of success.
I don't have to do it all on my own. I have the support of my parents, extended family, friends, coaches, and former coaches. From term papers to time trials I know they will be there for me. I want to run at the highest competitive level I can get. I will tackle the challenges of academics with the same grit and determination I do on the tracks and trails.
I would love to tack up a copy of my college diploma along with a short story about myself on to the wall of our social services building with the wish that some kid in foster care would find hope and inspiration while struggling with the things I did when I was young.
Did I mention I am determined?