This guest post is by Parker Robillard, a young man on the autism spectrum who has applied to 10 colleges and has been accepted into Sonoma State and University of La Verne. Parker is applying for the Spring 2021 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference started by me, Kerry Magro. I was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4 and you can read more about my organization here. Can I ask for a favor? I’m trying to make this nonprofit self-sufficient so I can make this my full-time job supporting the special needs community and would appreciate you taking a minute before reading on to watch this video below and subscribing to our Youtube page here to get to learn more about the work we do in the community.
I hope you can support my nonprofit like I’m trying to support these students with scholarship aid for college. Learn more on how you can help our cause with a small donation (just asking for $3 today, equal to your daily cup of coffee) here.
One event that sparked a period of personal growth was when I was in middle school. That year was a very bad year for me school wise. I rarely paid attention and I often did not turn in work on time. Sometimes I just refused to do it and hid it from my parents. I ended up getting a lot of bad grades throughout that year. My parents, of course, took notice and went to the school to help me change it. After my parents went to the school, the counselors gave me a card that I was supposed to give to my teachers after class to mark my progress and see how I was doing in each class. I let the teachers sign it for a while, but then I started to forge good marks and signatures on the card.
This, along with hiding assignments, meant my grades stayed the same throughout the year. There were severe consequences for me both at home and at school. On top of the little card, I was also forced to stay after school many times to talk to teachers and to make up work that I had not done. At home, I lost all my privileges, and always had to focus on work. I didn’t get much free time and when I got some, there was not much I could do. After the school year had ended, I still had F’s in multiple classes, so I was placed in a summer school program that lasted a few weeks.
My mom and stepmom would sit at the dining room table and work with me for hours on hours a day to catch me up so I could be prepared for 8th grade. Because I had gotten bad grades, my school counselor recommended to my parents that I should take a test. Turns out, I was eligible for a 504 and that was due to both my grades and the fact that I had been diagnosed with Aspergers. Over that summer with the help of my parents, I realized that my grades and schoolwork were very important and that if I didn’t take my school work as seriously as I should, it could affect my future in a very adverse way. I vowed that I would improve myself academically and that I would always do my best when it came to my schoolwork. When 8th grade rolled around, I sought to redeem myself for my behavior in my 7th-grade year. Instead of fighting back against my parents and teachers, I did all my school work and never resorted to lying about it or hiding it. I used the 504 to help me as well, getting some extra time on some tests when I needed it.
I worked very hard to make sure I did not get any F’s or C’s. It was difficult in the beginning but I persevered. After the first semester, I started getting A’s and B’s. It was extremely satisfying to see the results of my hard work. It inspired me to keep working hard and by the end of the year, I had done it. I had completely turned myself around and gotten my grades up. I had improved so much that at the end of that year, I received the “Most Improved” award at my school.
Even after middle school in my high school freshman year, I worked hard and continued to improve. In freshman year, I chose not to use my 504 and by sophomore year I was off the plan. I was offered the opportunity to transfer over to AP and Honors classes. My early choices have given me the confidence to succeed even further and since my sophomore year, I have achieved straight A’s and B’s. This event made me discover that my education, as well as my integrity, is important for my future.
My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.