National Center for Learning Disabilities

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2008 Anne Ford Scholarship Winner

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is proud to congratulate Lenora ("Lenny") Somervell of Brasstown, NC, the 2008 winner of the Anne Ford Scholarship Award. Now in its seventh year, this scholarship provides $10,000 toward tuition over four years to a graduating high school senior
with learning disabilities (LD) who will pursue an undergraduate degree at a college or university. A prize of Kurzweil 3000 Scan/Read software is also presented to the award winner and the two award runners up. Runners up for this year's Anne Ford Scholarship Award are Nathan Porter of Wilmington, NC, and Rachel Origer of San Antonio, TX, who will also receive a cash award from NCLD.

Despite struggling with learning throughout her early school years, Lenora Somervell ("Lenny") was not formally classified as having a learning disability (LD) in reading and math until her freshman year of high school, the tipping point being her struggle mastering Algebra I. At first, she admits to having felt "stupid, defective, and doomed to failure," but with encouragement from her parents and the help of a special education teacher, Lenny learned more about her specific strengths and weakness and renewed her commitment to high achievement in pursuit of her dreams. In her junior year she was among a select few students to attend the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) where she has excelled both socially and academically.

In hopes of promoting awareness and improving services for students with LD at NCSSM, Lenny co-founded a campus group called E=LD². The group provides networking opportunities for students (with and without LD) to share study strategies and information about LD, and has offered workshops to help teachers better understand the types of instructional strategies and accommodations that will help all students achieve to their potential. In addition, Lenny is an active member of many school-based clubs and she enjoys fencing club, camping and backpacking, playing and listening to music, and volunteering for a student-run humanitarian organization on campus.


Lenny is setting high goals for the future. Her plans are to earn a degree in chemistry, perhaps volunteer for work with the Peace Corps, and then decide whether to pursue graduate school or enter the workforce. She has a special interest in neuro-chemistry and would like to study how this field of science relates to individuals with LD, perhaps hoping one day to help improve the lives of individuals with LD.


Read Lenora's winning application essay.