Editor’s Note: When Gabriela McCall Delgado was in elementary school, her parents realized she had a learning disability. She was tested by Dr. Lillian Strong and learned that she had a learning disability and Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD). If you’re a regular reader of “Hometown Heroes,” you know that life isn’t about the injury, the disease or the disability. Life is about what you do with the challenges you have and how you can use your insights to help yourself and others. That’s exactly what Gabriela has done with the We Connect Now website. Part 1 of a 5 part series.
When Gabriela was told she had ADD and a learning disability, she said, “I didn’t know what those words meant. I had to go to a lot of therapy sessions after school. My reading was what was most affected. However, my grades were okay during elementary school–I made Bs and Cs, but I was having a difficult time.” My parents decided to homeschool me since school was so challenging for me. “They felt I could get a more well rounded education through homeschooling than I could in public school,” Gabriela explains. “Another reason that they decided to homeschool me was because they knew I could work at my own pace instead of having to work at the pace of the other students. Also, due to my interest in science, my parents knew I’d have more time to develop that interest if I were homeschooled. Since I was a little slow in English and reading, they knew I’d have more time to really cover those two subjects, using this method of education, rather than being in public school. Although my mom was an attorney, she was able to homeschool me and work.”
Gabriela enjoyed homeschooling, but she realized it wasn’t for everyone. She learned a lot of self discipline also by being schooled at home, since she had to hold herself accountable to get the work finished. Once Gabriela’s parents discovered just how deep her interest was in science, they tailored her homeschooling, so that she could follow her scientific interests. For instance, she really became interested in birds and had many opportunities to a number of hands on activities. Because of her work on the bird project, she won the President’s Environmental Youth Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (PEYA) for taking photographs of birds in her area and creating a booklet, “The Birds of Puerto Rico,” in 2007 that contained basic information about those birds. She gave the booklet out to different groups to help them learn about the birds of Puerto Rico and also their environments and habitat needs.
Even though she was homeschooled, she wasn’t isolated from other teenagers. “I joined a group called Roteract, a service club sponsored by the Rotary Club for ages 12-18,” Gabriela mentions. “The Rotary Club sponsors two programs for young people, Interact for high school students, and Interact for college students. We had a community based Interact club when I was in high school. Through this organization, we were able to meet other students from other communities and towns and perform service work to better those communities and the environment.”
About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com