The Winners of the 2012 Anne Ford & Allegra Ford Scholarship AwardsThe National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is proud to congratulate Silvia Ortiz-Rosales of Oakland, California and Joshua Piscitello of North Haven, Connecticut. Silvia is the 2012 Anne Ford Scholar and Joshua is the 2012 Allegra Ford Scholar.
Since 2002, NCLD has been celebrating the accomplishments of graduating high school seniors who, despite their learning disabilities (LD), have shown that LD has been part of their “recipe for success” and not a “prescription for failure.” For first time, this year NCLD has expanded the scholarship program to honor students who will embark on two different types of journeys: one headed off for a four-year college and one who will focus on career certification and training.
Anne Ford, Chairman Emerita of NCLD and longtime parent advocate for children with learning disabilities, presented the scholarships at this year’s NCLD 35th Annual Benefit Dinner, held on April 18, 2012, and emceed by Paula Zahn in New York City.
“This year, we received more than 400 applications for the scholarships from students throughout the country,” said Anne, handing out the awards to this year’s winners. “Reading their applications and hearing their stories of struggle, perseverance, and success is beyond inspiring—so many students are not only meeting the challenges of LD, but are excelling in college and in the workplace.”
In addition to the winning scholars, both awards have multiple runners-up and honorable mentions who received smaller financial awards and a package of assistive technology tools to help them in their future studies and work.
Anne Ford ScholarshipThe Anne Ford Scholarship Award is a $10,000 scholarship ($2,500/year for four years) given to a student who will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Anne Ford Scholars clearly exemplify the importance of self-advocacy and are committed to completing a four-year college program. They have demonstrated high academic achievement, have shown perseverance and leadership, and have excelled as role models and spokespersons for others who struggle with LD.
This year’s winner, Silvia Ortiz-Rosales, describes herself as having a “thirst for knowledge and success.” Once her dyslexia was identified in fourth grade, Silvia promised herself that she would not let LD hold her back from academic and personal success. Silvia’s perseverance, skillful use of accommodations, and ability to self-advocate have resulted in her having completed a rigorous course of study, including advanced placement classes and achieving honor roll status at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School. Silvia is a leader in her school and community. In addition to her studies and part-time jobs, she is active in student government, campus ministry, percussion ensemble, and many other clubs and activities. She has a passion for writing and aspires to a career in journalism.
Read Silvia’s winning essay.
The Runner-Up for this year’s Anne Ford Scholarship is Derrick Williams of Columbia Falls, Montana. Honorable mentions include: Lauren Birbarie, Daniela Cortes, Rosalind Gray-Bauer, Julia Malynn, Jessica Schwartz, Scott Schwartz, Monica Strosina, and Kelsie Summit.
Allegra Ford ScholarshipThe Allegra Ford Scholarship Award is a one-time, $2,500 scholarship given to a student who will be enrolled in a community college, vocational or technical training program, or specialized program for students with LD. Allegra Ford Scholars understand the importance of self-advocacy, are committed to post-high school study or career training, and have been involved in their schools and local communities. They have demonstrated perseverance and are committed to achieving personal goals despite the challenges of LD.
This year’s winner, Joshua Piscitello, is the definition of a “hands-on learner.” His dyslexia, dysgraphia, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder have been the root of frustration since his early school years, and despite his underlying ability and creativity, he struggled with traditional modes of learning. Early on he knew that his future would somehow be linked to what his father called his “magical hands.” Throughout his education at North Haven High School, Joshua has excelled in hands-on learning and is now working part-time at an auto-body shop. He plans to earn a certificate in auto-body technology to enhance his skills in car collision repair and custom body work. In addition to this work, Joshua serves his community by assisting teachers at a local day care center and as a physical education facilitator at his school. His goal is not only to open his own automotive shop in the future but to train and employ individuals with LD.
Read Joshua’s winning essay.
The Runner Up for this year’s Allegra Ford Scholarship is James Crowder of Somerset, Kentucky. Honorable mentions include: Natalie Black, Allison Harvey, Keith Hopkins, Cole Little, Jesse Retzlaff, Emily Shuster, Alyssa Sikand, and Jarred Studer.