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A True Underdog Story!

by Gatlin McPherson 5 months ago in humanity
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Growing up with Cerebral palsy was a challenge, but I overcame so many obstacles in my life. The doctors diagnosed me with cerebral palsy when I was six months old. When I was three-year-old my mother got me a chalkboard where she wrote words out so I could learn how to read them. My mother could see I was smart and understood everything that was going on around me. In school, I had a lot

of struggles throughout my years. By the time I entered my high school years I was only at a third-grade math level and I couldn’t even develop fully sentences. My math and writing skills shouldn’t be where an average high school should be. Meeting Mrs. Towe was a true blessing meet, the Knox County Special Education Teacher, who took me under her wing. She made sure that I received the proper tutoring I needed to improve my academic skills. Math was difficult for me to learn since I couldn’t write to work the problems out on scratch paper as other students could. It took me two years to remember my multiplication tables. I had a hard time remembering my multiplication tables sometime I wanted to give up so many times, but Sheryl always told me to suck it up buttercup. Sheryl Hamrick was Ms. Towe’s teacher assistant she got me where I could remember my multiplication tables. She continuously drilled my multiplication facts Hamrick usually fed me my meals every day she ever went over my multiplication tables while I ate my lunch every day. After I was successful remembered the multiplication tables I moved on to working on doing division which was difficult for me because I couldn’t work it out with a pen, that was when they didn’t develop any software to work mathematical problems that were the main reason why I couldn’t be successful with math. When I started my high school sophomore year I felt like I have gotten the experience from summer tutoring to excel in high school. Every Friday night I went to football games to socialize with my classmates. I finally started to get mainstream into regular classes, this made me believe in myself more. In high school, I used to feel like the other kids didn’t treat me like a regular kid they just saw me as somebody in a wheelchair. I didn’t think much about it because I was more focused on getting on my education. The only thing I enjoyed doing was going to football games. One time during my sophomore year they had a wrecked car where they were raising money for the band during homecoming so I gave them money so I could hit the car by running into it with my wheelchair. The teacher’s aid got on me by doing that because it messed up my wheelchair. I was thinking about telling her to mind her own business. The teacher aid saw this happening and she immediately rushed us to the principal office then Principal Duff didn’t know how to deal with me so he sent me back to Mrs. Towe’s room. By the time I got there Mrs. Towe was in tears because she thought those boys made me take a puff of that cigarette against my will she didn’t know I requested them to do that. Mrs. Towe thought that I was just a sweet cripple boy. She called my mother and told her about the cigarette incident, my mother said “ Gatlin usually doesn’t let anybody force him to do something that he doesn’t want to do. My mother also said I should be punished as well because he probably asked them to hold that cigarette to his mouth so he can take a puff so can fit in with the other boys. My mother didn’t believe that I should be treated differently since I have a disability. One day I told Ms. Towe that I wanted to earn my regular education diploma when I graduate high school. She reapplied ”you have to pass your TCAP Since I was in the special education program I was going to get a special education diploma instead getting a regular education diploma. This was important for me because I always wanted to go to college. From that moment I devoted myself to getting my regular education diploma so I could go on to college. During my junior year in high school, I asked Mrs. Towe to put me in an English class to help me pass the TCAP. I thought the English teacher didn’t like the fact I was going to be in her class because she was afraid that I was going to choke and disturb her class. The class was a sophomore-level English that could help me pass my TCAP. I remembered my first day in English class, the teacher kept staring at me as she gave her lecture to the class. I felt like the students did better adjusting to me than she did. After a few weeks saw how well I did in her class and started interacting with me just like she did with other students. Finally, it was time to take the TCAP English portion which was a requirement to achieve a regular education high school diploma. I carefully read everything on the TCAP a couple of times since I had unlimited time to complete the test at my pace. After two weeks of waiting to find out what my TCAP results were, Mrs. Towe entered the classroom with a huge smile on her face when she asked me “what thing will make my day then she told me that I passed the English TCCAP test.” I almost jumped out of my wheelchair with excitement. After three years of intense tutoring, I finally passed the TCAP‘s English I finally completed my accompaniment, which I set my mind to achieve so I could earn my regular ED high diploma instead of a special education Diploma.


About the author

Gatlin McPherson

Hello, my name is Gatlin McPherson, and I am majoring in Public Relations. Prior to that, I earned a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. I have Cerebral Palsy and I write about everything

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  • Marie Cadette Pierre-Louis5 months ago

    Congrats! I wish you the best. I love your text by the way, it is well-written and powerful!

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