This is the essay I submitted to the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2017 Youth Scholarship Award contest.
“I have Tourette’s, but Tourette’s doesn’t have me” is a quote that I have lived my life around. Nine years ago, when I was eight years old I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. I’ve had to live with this disorder for the majority of my life now, and I’m proud to say that I’ve overcome it and persevered through the struggles it brought. Most importantly, I haven’t let it get in the way of me being successful, well rounded, and involved in my life.
One special thing about me is that I am an extremely loving and caring person that will always put others first before I think about myself. I am involved in the TOPS soccer program, where you have a buddy with special needs that you play soccer with on Saturday mornings. My buddy Justin was very important to me. I ended up becoming very close to him and I couldn’t wait to see him every weekend. I am also in the Key club at my school where I do a lot of volunteer work to help various causes and people. Out of all the volunteer work I’ve done, one of the standout favorites of mine that I’ve participated in was Letters to Santa. I love children so this was especially fun for me. For this event I stayed after school numerous days and acted as Santa, replying to children’s letters they wrote to Santa.
Something else about me is how I haven’t let Tourette’s stop me from getting involved. In my school I am in many clubs such as DECA, Math league, Science League, and Key Club, all of these in which I participate in heavily. I was also on the soccer team in high school and this taught me many things about teamwork and being a leader. This eventually led to me being nominated by my coach to participate in the Sophomore Leadership Academy. This was a full day event where kids who showed leadership qualities were nominated by their teachers/ coaches and gathered together to be taught how to be better leaders. I was extremely honored and humbled to receive this nomination and I will continue to show the leadership qualities I have while attending Saint Joseph’s University.
Another thing that I am extremely proud of is my ability to excel academically while dealing with my Tourette’s. Throughout my four years of high school I have made Honor Roll or Superintendents List consistently. I am also currently a part of the National Honor Society. I attribute this success to my hard work ethic. I am an extremely hard worker and always give 110% in every task that I take on. My hard work also helps me during my job which is working at Visalli’s Farm Market. Working at a farmer’s market can sometimes be tough, especially during the summer in the scorching heat when I’m out in the fields. However, I always give it my all no matter the circumstance. I plan to bring my hard working attitude along with me to Saint Joseph’s University and to contribute wherever I can.
I will continue to persevere and be successful in my life while battling and beating Tourette’s. So far in my life I haven’t let this disorder hold me back from participating in many different activities and I will continue that trend at Saint Joseph’s University.