A lot of people like to talk about those who are their personal heroes. For some, they are sport stars. For others they are the well deserving service members in our society. For me, my hero is a little closer to home. Her name is Emmie and she is my sister.
Growing up, we had some idea that Emmie was different. She was always an extremely smart kid but anything have to do with visual cues was always off. When every other kid were learning the alphabet and beginning the process of reading, she was always several steps behind. I distinctly remember her crying many a nights because she could not figure out how to read even with my mom, a life long teacher, spending hours with her and her incredible IQ.
In first grade, we finally found out that Emmie had a severe learning disability that would make reading next to impossible. The news was devastating considering how much reading is prevalent in society and how bleak the outlook the administrators of the test made her future seem. From what these morons insinuated, the best Emmie could ever hope for is a minimum wage job and the life that comes with no education.
Well, Emmie heard that and was determined to prove those teachers wrong. She worked harder in school than anyone I know. With the help of some amazing teachers, she learned how to read. However, what took other kids twenty minutes in homework, would take her two hours. The SAT test had to be read aloud to her and took three full days to complete. But she kept her head down and would rarely ever complain about the hand dealt to her. I can relay countless stories of her sticking up for herself and proving everyone wrong.
Last night, I took the red-eye to Naples, FL to see her graduate high school this weekend. This feat alone was said to be impossible by many. Not only is she graduating from high school but she has also been accepted to Florida State University, on a full ride academic scholarship, and fast tracked into their Masters of Education program. Her dream is to help kids who have similar learning disabilities and show them that there is hope for them.
Emmie persevered over countless people who told her that what she wanted was impossible. She did it with the maturity and grace of someone well above the 19 years old she is. When people would tell her to her face that what she wanted was impossible all she would say is “I will prove you wrong” and walk away. (She didn’t learn that from me. We all know how “gracefully” I handle those situations.) For all those situations and countless other reasons, Emmie Meek is my hero and forever will be.