By Dwight Harris
Fourth Place, Grade 4-6 Division, 2010
Grade 4, Randle Highlands ES
Teacher: Ms. Audu

The most challenging experience in my life was attending school before I got help with self control. When I was a little boy, I couldn’t wait to start school. My mother read to me and I wanted to be able to read to her. I thought I would have lots of friends; so many I would have trouble deciding who to play with. School was nothing like what I imagined.

Teachers told me to sit still and pay attention more than I want to remember. The teacher said things to my mom like, “Your son has a high energy level,” “He is easily distracted,” and “He is not finishing his work.” I wanted my mom to be proud of me. I wanted the teacher to have great things to say about me, but when I looked into their eyes I saw disappointment.

My mom has told me that there is something about my eyes that makes her think of the day I was born and first looked at her. She always forgives me for all the wrong things I do. Some days, we would have long talks about how I should behave. We would practice sitting still and paying attention. Looking back, I didn’t make it easy for them.

My mom had to come to the school on a regular basis. I caused a lot of accidents by not having self control. I was always moving around and swinging my arms but it felt normal to me. I never meant to cause anyone pain.

Everyone had enough of my behavior every day, so my mom said she would find me some help. I met doctors who told us that I have a condition called ADHD. They told me once we got that under control, practicing self control would be easier. They were right.

I’m blessed to have people in my life who didn’t give up on me, who showed me that loving myself and putting in hard work for things I want is the key to success.

Now I am able to focus more when the teacher is talking. I’m able to stand close to others without causing accidents and I made a few friends. My mom, family, and teachers are proud of me. That means a lot to me. When I look in the mirror, through my eyes I see a boy on his way to becoming a man.