American Academy, a school for students with mild learning disabilities, changed all of this for Erin when she enrolled in 4th grade. In the beginning, the transition was not an easy one; however, by 6th grade, Erin began to take school more seriously. The teachers and staff at American Academy changed her perception of school, and the nurturing and direction Erin received from her guidance counselor, Ms. Malloy, made her understand that her learning disability was not to be used as a crutch but as a strength.
One of her biggest challenges was allowing herself to accept that she didn’t need to be perfect in every situation, especially when it came to her grades. Erin deemed anything less than an A as unsatisfactory, and that could lead to panic attacks, but her teachers’ patience and respect for Erin as a person allowed her to start believing in herself.
As Erin became more confident, she began making friends which led to extracurricular activities. Not only was she a violinist in the orchestra beginning in 4th grade, but she was also a cheerleader on the junior high, junior varsity, and varsity teams. She was active in Student Government from 10th-12th grade and held positions in Patriot Pride. Erin was the Academy representative in 9th grade, was elected vice president as a junior, and elected president her senior year. She was the recipient of the Pinnacle award in 2016 being recognized as a student who sets an example for others.
Her greatest accomplishment was getting a full scholarship to Lynn University, where she attended for one year. She most recently transferred to FAU in pursuit of a degree in Speech Pathology. Her decision to pursue this career path was to help others overcome their disabilities. When asked what stood out to her the most about her time as a student and how American Academy helped her become who she is today, Erin said, “The small class sizes and special attention from teachers who are patient and encouraging. They just understand you.” The biggest change she sees in herself is being more relaxed about being perfect. She is proud of who she is and considers herself a role model for others.