By Celeste Sara Alexandra Williams
Fifth Place, Grade 4-6 Division, 2010
Grade 6, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School
Teacher: Mr. Paul Gerber
The anger… the frustration… I’ve been through it all. Well not all of it, but a lot of it. I was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in second grade. It was pretty obvious. I was never focused and I just couldn’t sit still. The only real trouble with me having ADHD was that I was in a Spanish-English bilingual school.
When I entered the school in the first grade, I knew no Spanish at all. All of my friends already spoke at least some Spanish. On top of that, ADHD made it especially hard for me to learn conjugations and remember new words, so learning a second language was even tougher than it should have been. I was really behind, and every day felt like a struggle. But that never stopped me. In fact, I think it pushed me harder. I couldn’t stand knowing that my friends knew more than me. I have to know everything they know. That’s just the way I am.
My parents offered to move me to an English-only school. But leaving my friends behind was something I didn’t want to do. Besides, I don’t really like change. And in the very corner of my mind, I knew that if I gave up on Spanish, I’d never really forgive myself. I didn’t want to give up. If you work hard to do something and just stop… it’s like you’re giving up on a lot of people… but most of all, you’re giving up on yourself.
It was tough – and it still is. I kept working and pushed every limit to learn what I could. Sometimes, I didn’t do well. Recently, all my friends had A’s on their report cards and I was only getting C’s and B’s. But I knew I could get A’s. I’d just have to work harder than most people do. In my next report card, I did get the A’s I wanted.
I think having ADHD makes learning harder for me. But I think the good thing about ADHD is that it’s taught me to push harder than most people… and to stick to what I’ve started. Sometimes I do get discouraged and feel really low. When I feel like this, I read and disappear into a book. But other times, I feel like the happiest person in the world. I have really big dreams and big goals for myself. I guess I feel that, if I fail, I need to pick myself up and work harder. I still haven’t overcome all of my problems. But guess what? Nobody’s perfect. And I never want to be perfect. I want to be me.