Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Announces the Winners of its Youth Achievement, Community Service and Professional Achievement Awards

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities announced that Melissa Rey, 16, of Chesterfield, MO won its Seventh Annual Youth Achievement Award, which recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of students with learning disabilities. The award was presented at the nonprofit organization's recent 10th Anniversary Benefit, celebrating its work empowering the parents of children with learning disabilities and ADHD. The 2010 Community Service Award was presented to Philip Schultz, the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry who was held back twice in elementary school because he couldn't read or write, and the Professional Achievement Award to Nanci Bell, CEO of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, an international leader in programs supporting language development and learning difficulties.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities announced that Melissa Rey, 16, won its Seventh Annual Youth Achievement Award, which recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of students with learning disabilities. Melissa, of Chesterfield, MO, was selected from over 150 entrants in the nationwide contest conducted by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc., http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org. The award was presented to Melissa at the nonprofit organization's recent 10th Anniversary Benefit, celebrating its work empowering the parents of children with learning disabilities and ADHD.

A sophomore at Kennedy High School in Manchester, MO, Melissa was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade, and spent three years shuttling from her regular classroom to the school's reading specialist, often arriving in tears, as she struggled with the seemingly insurmountable task of learning to read. In her acceptance speech, she described using the process that helped unlock the mystery of learning to read and to succeed in school - including breaking down any problem into manageable tasks, developing creative alternatives, and using a well-organized approach -- to overcome challenges in the fields of sports, music, drama, and science. As she told the audience of over 200 people, her dyslexia served as her "secret weapon" in winning the Discovery Channel 3M Top Young Scientist Award in 2008, after two days of grueling competition at the NASA Goddard Space Center. Her story appears on Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities' website at http://www.smartkidswithld.org/success-stories/youth-award-winners/melissa-rey-2010-youth-achievement-award-winner.

Other award winners include:

  •     William King Barnett, 14, of Encino, CA, an 8th-grader at Bridges Academy for twice-exceptional (gifted and learning-disabled) students in Studio City, CA. who was named the winner of the 2010 Junior Achievement Award, for outstanding accomplishments by a student with learning disabilities or ADHD not yet in high school. After struggling to learn to talk, to walk and to develop basic motor skills, William has pushed himself to accomplish goals beyond what anyone thought possible--becoming a proficient pianist, performing leading roles with the Golden Performing Arts Center, writing movie scripts, and composing music.
  •     Gregory Bayliss, 18, of Greenwich, CT, a senior at the Taft School in Watertown, CT accepted a Youth Achievement Honorable Mention. Additional Honorable Mention winners include Emily Cassidy, 18, of Westlake, TX; Ina Herlihy, 17, of San Francisco, CA; Alex Lake, 19, of Roswell, GA; William Pendleton, 18, of Lawrence, KS; and Ben Waldow, 17, of Beverly Hills, CA

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities' 2010 Community Service Award was presented to Philip Schultz, the distinguished writer and teacher who was held back in school twice as a child because he couldn't read, the result of undiagnosed dyslexia. Schultz, the founder of The Writers Studio in New York City, Tucson, Arizona and San Francisco, CA as well as online classes at http://www.writerstudio.com, has taught at major universities including Columbia, Tufts and NYU. He has won many of this country's most prestigious awards for writing, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2008.

The organization was also proud to present its 2010 Professional Achievement Award to Nanci Bell, co-founder and Director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes of San Luis Obispo, CA at http://www.lindamoodbell.com, an international leader in programs addressing language development and learning difficulties. The company's 43 learning centers provide expert training in reading and other language development activities to children with dyslexia as well as those with other learning difficulties.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc., founded in 2000, provides information, inspiration and support to parents of children with learning disabilities and ADHD via its extensive website, e-newsletter and blog. For more information, please see http://www.smartkidswithld.org.

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