This guest post is by Brody Kriegel, a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Ouachita Baptist University. Brody 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.
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.
Have you ever met someone who can recall information so vividly that it is almost like their mind is a walking computer? I am that person exactly when it comes to sports trivia, especially with football. My mom once bought me a book on Super Bowls but she said it might have been a waste of money because I seemed to know more than the book did! I am sometimes referred to as the “Rainman” of football by my family.
As previously mentioned, when I was in third grade, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. I have since used this diagnosis to better myself in all ways possible. I decided I would use some of the challenges with this diagnosis to see what I could accomplish. I began by running for student council vice president of my elementary school and successfully won when I was in the fifth grade. I continued on to junior high by participating in band, football, track, and UIL spelling where I won first and second place. Once I reached high school, I really began to think, “The sky is my limit!”
While in high school, I have been on the varsity and junior varsity football teams, powerlifting team, been a percussionist in band, member of the National Honor Society and Student Council, and participated in theater and one act play productions, often portraying dual roles. I even chose to participate in two activities at once: football and band, which meant back-to-back practices everyday along with playing the game and then performing with the band during halftime when my other teammates went to the locker room for a break. This alone taught me not only about hard work but time management as well because despite all of this “double-duty” I maintained a 4.0 grade point average. In addition, I have obtained over 340 community volunteer hours, received numerous leadership awards, completed 18 hours of dual college credit, and have even held summer jobs.
After graduating high school, I plan to obtain my bachelor’s degree in sports broadcasting or sports media. Having this degree will allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a play-by-play announcer for college or professional football. I plan to attend Ouachita Baptist University which will continue to give me volunteer opportunities in the sports field while on campus, much like my high school was able to provide. I was fortunate enough to announce games for the junior varsity and junior high home football games which provided for a gateway into my chosen field. I also participated in the Audio Visual class by editing video and anchored the sports segment of the Wildcat Weekly report. While in college, I plan to participate in summer internships which will help to further my experience. After I graduate with my bachelor’s degree, I plan to work for a high school or community college and gain the experience I need to eventually become the announcer for NCAA or NFL games. Furthermore, I am hopeful that my “Rainman” capability will give me the advantage over other announcers. I know my hunger for success will carry on throughout my career and will be the driving force I need to make my dreams become a reality.
It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment to know that even though I have a disability I can still be just as productive as the next person in line. I have many positive character traits that will help me to achieve my goals in life and are a humble reminder that we all have flaws but it is how we choose to use those flaws that make us who we are. I will always value myself as an outstanding person whose limits are only those that I may impose upon myself.
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.