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Special Ed Kid Gets Graduate Degree After Teacher Said He Couldn’t Go To College

By Victor Trammell

Sometimes a person’s biggest motivator can come from an adverse situation when a naysayer tells them what they’ll never accomplish in life.

This past Sunday (April 23rd), (National Public Radio) profiled the story of a Virginia-born black man named Ronnie Sidney (pictured). Sidney, 33, is the owner of a publishing company called Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words, LLC.

Sidney has also authored a children’s books for his publishing company titled “Nelson Beats The Odds.”

This story is about a boy with ADHD who deals with a lot of frustration in life, which comes from a stigma developed from being a special needs child. However, the boy overcomes his lifetime obstacles by achieving things people never thought would be possible for a special needs child.

Sidney’s real life story from boyhood to manhood is definitely comparable to the life story chronicled in “Nelson Beats The Odds.” Sidney himself was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. He not only dealt with the stigma of having a behavioral disorder, but he dealt with the stigma of being a black child in a predominantly white school.

Sidney talked to NPR about a day he experienced in school as an eighth-grader when a teacher told him he would never get accepted into college.

“A lot of teachers just don’t know,” Sidney told NPR. “I had a good relationship with my special education teacher, but when it came to some of my mainstream education teachers, there was a disconnect,” he continued.

Sidney certainly overcame the odds by proving that “mainstream” eighth-grade teacher he had wrong. In 2006, Sidney graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services. He went on to receive a Master of Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014.

With all that Sidney has accomplished in life, he is driven to do much more.

“If I was able to overcome and graduate high school. I felt like I could do anything, and that’s the passion and that’s the resilience that I take with me,” Sidney also told NPR.

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