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Hello. My name is Leon. I am 17 years old and a senior in high school. When I was six, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s is an Autistic spectrum disorder characterized by attention deficits and social awkwardness. Throughout my life, I have faced many struggles and I face each of them head on with an “I can do it” attitude. Lacking social perception, I have struggled to make friends. Therefore, I truly respect and cherish those friends that I do have. Because of my attention deficits, I have trouble paying attention. Sometimes I cannot focus on what I have to do and my mind wanders to something else.

My earliest memory of special adjustments in my educational plan was in middle school when I was put into smaller classes for more one on one time with the teacher. In high school, I am given extended time for tests and scribes for essays that I have to complete in school, an aid to help me stay organized, and I go to a social group where I learned social skills and how to function in today’s world. All of these accommodations have helped me become a better student and maintain a 3.5 GPA.

Despite my disability, I try to be as friendly and helpful to others as I can. A few years ago I was on vacation in Disney World with my family, when while in line for one of the rides, I noticed a girl who seemed to be nervous about something. I stood there and listened to the conversation between her and her parents. I then excused myself and went over to the girl. I introduced myself to the parents and proceeded to take the girl by the hand. My parents stood there in amazement as the girl’s facial expression went from one of apprehension to one of complete calmness. When I rejoined them, I explained to them that I went over to calm the girl down by letting her know that the ride is not so bad and is actually a lot of fun. I also insisted that we wait for her to return so that I could make sure that she was okay and to see how she enjoyed the ride. The ride attendants stood there and watched, in awe as this event unfolded. They were amazed, as they have never seen anyone give up their place in line to make sure that another patron was Okay with the ride. Later my parents told me that the girl had Down syndrome and her parents thanked me for calming her down.

When I set my eyes on a goal, there is no stopping me. When I was 10, I joined Cub Scouts as a Webelos II and was immediately inspired to succeed. After working hard and forsaking other activities, I held my head high and proudly crossed over to Boy Scouts with my Arrow of Light. By the end of my first year in Boy Scouts, I was on my way to the rank of First Class Scout and I continued advancing through the ranks until I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts, at the age of 16. Reaching the rank of Eagle takes extreme commitment, dedication, and devotion and is not an easy task for even the typically abled. It is a particularly difficult challenge for those who are differently abled. By living the Boy Scout motto, I am always prepared to take on and overcome any challenge I am faced with.

My next life challenge is college. I have already been accepted to and am planning to attend, in September, New Jersey Institute of Technology majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Although I am not sure what direction my career life will take me, I see myself working in robotics. After that, I want to get a house and raise a family. I plan to use this scholarship money to continue services similar to what I have now to aid my college experience. The services I found most helpful were the scribes and private tutoring. Most of all, I will use the money to obtain additional life counseling.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Leon S

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