In September of 1995, I was born in  Russia. After birth, I was put into an orphanage where I lived for 1 year before being adopted to the United States. I was a 26 week premie During my time in the orphanage, I struggled a lot. I had trouble keeping food down, except for two bottles of milk each day. For the first 13 years of my life, I didn’t think anything was wrong with me until I was in 5th grade. I struggled a lot in the classroom and I started to take different tests to see what might be the problem. My family and I found out that I had Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). We then started to figure out ways to help me in school. We had meetings with the school and school district, but they weren’t helpful. They basically said I wouldn’t make it to get my diploma so there is no point in helping me.

Well I proved them wrong, because in June 2016 I will be getting my high school diploma.

I realized that public schools weren’t the right fit for me, so my parents and I started to look at different schools in San Diego for kids with disabilities IMG_7311that would help me succeed and get my high school diploma. When I was in middle school, I looked at different schools, and the last school I looked at was Excelsior Academy. I took a 2 day visit here and then had to go back to my home middle school until I got a reply to know if Excelsior Academy was for me. In December of 2008, I left my middle school and returned to Excelsior Academy were I would continue my education and work my way to today.

When I became a student at EA, I was in 6th grade. That very first day will be a day I would never forget. My teacher, Mrs. Downing, told me that I can be anything I want, no matter if I have a learning difference. In other words, you can do anything you want to, if you set your mind to it. I then knew that Excelsior Academy was the right school for me.

EA helped me right away, and found ways to help me succeed in, and out of the classroom. Later on, I found out that I have Fetal Alcohol syndrome (FAS) when I was taking a special test outside of school. I knew I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of me reaching my goals and dreams. It just meant that I would have to work harder and might need more help, but it didn’t mean I would fail in the future. I have received more help from EA then I ever thought I would receive in my life.

I have accomplished so much since I have been a student at EA. I got my IMG_6841driver’s license and a motorcycle license, and I will be getting my High School Diploma in June. I’m really excited because the school district thought i wouldn’t make it. Well I definitely proved them wrong. Going to Excelsior Academy was the best decision I could’ve made to help me succeed and set me up for my future. Excelsior is such a good environment for kids with disabilities & learning differences.

I know that if I didn’t go to EA I would have not made it to high school, let alone graduate with my diploma.  EA has definitely become a big part of my life, and I’m really going to miss EA. I would recommended EA for any kid who needs some help in school, who is struggling, and who wants help.


Chris has been accepted to the College 2 Career program at Miramar College where he will study hospitality and aviation for a career at the Airport.