Smart Kids With Learning Disabilities, Inc. Selects Two High School Students as Its 2007 Youth Achievement Award Winners in Nationwide Contest

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. selected Cassidy Kahn of New York, and Jesse R. Kline of Maryland, as its 2007 Youth Achievement Award winners in a nationwide contest recognizing students who become high achievers despite their learning disabilities. Both Cassidy Kahn, a senior at Churchill School in New York City, and Jesse R. Kline, a junior at Jemicy High School in Towson, Maryland, struggle daily with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Nonetheless, Cassidy is a top competitive diver, winning AAU All-America status for two events in 2006, and Jesse, a Junior Zoo Keeper for the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, is expected to graduate a year early to study biology and animal sciences in college.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announced Cassidy Kahn of New York, and Jesse R. Kline of Maryland, as its 2007 Youth Achievement Award winners. The nationwide contest recognizes students who become high achievers despite their learning disabilities. Both students struggle daily with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

Cassidy Kahn is a senior at Churchill School, a school for students with learning disabilities in New York City. She struggles daily with dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder and delays in speech processing. Nonetheless, she has served on Student Council, attending regional leadership conferences and national leadership camps.

She also excels in sports, becoming an accomplished level 10 gymnast before injuries and five elbow operations forced her to give up gymnastics. Undeterred, she switched to competitive diving, winning AAU All-America status for two events in 2006. She was heavily recruited by top diving schools and will be attending University of Indiana in the fall, 2007.

Jesse R. Kline is a 17-year-old junior at Jemicy High School, a school for college-bound students with learning disabilities in Towson, Maryland. In second grade, he couldn't tie his shoes, tell time or ride a bike, nor was he showing any signs of reading or writing. At age 10, he was diagnosed with severe learning disabilities, including dyslexia and dysgraphia (writing disabilities). Today, he plays football, is on his school's varsity lacrosse team and is expected to graduate a year early to study biology and animal sciences in college.

He also excels in the volunteer arena. He is a Junior Zoo Keeper for the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, where he has given more than 400 hours of service. In 2006, he was selected as one of 14 students worldwide to train as an Arctic Ambassador, tracking polar-bear migration and climate change on the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. At school, he organized a zoo outreach program and recently led an event, raising over $600 for the Wild Life Foundation in memory of his hero Steve Erwin.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. will give its Youth Achievement Awards at its annual event, held in May at the Stamford Marriott, Stamford, Connecticut, according to Jane Ross, Executive Director.

"This year, for the first time, we will present our Youth Achievement Award to two students, Cassidy Kahn and Jesse R. Kline," she said. "Both demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities, serve as role models and are high achievers, despite a myriad of daily personal challenges."

Seven students will also receive Honorable Mention Awards. They are Courtnie Marie Canady of Greenwood, CA; Maya T. Colbert of Fort Washington, MD; Jake Fiskin of Los Angeles, CA; Charley Goddard of La Canada, CA; Derek McKindles of Iron Mountain, MI; Jordanna Hurwitz Rose of San Diego, CA; and David Aaron Wills of Dallas, TX.

About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.:
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). Its mission is to educate, guide and inspire families dealing with disabilities and to change the perception of learning disabilities as a stigmatizing condition. David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue Airways, serves as its Honorary Chairman.

Contact:
Jane Ross, Executive Director
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.
203-226-6831
http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org

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