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As a young learner, Stevie was frustrated by the challenges of dyslexia, until a teacher encouraged her to think differently about how she defined herself. She says, “Every day in class, my hand would instantly shoot up when I didn’t fully understand something, or I would come in after school and work with my teacher. And, I would write ‘you are good at math; all over my hands just to prove to myself that I was indeed good at math. I could have easily used this setback as an excuse and let it define me but instead I’m proud of putting my head down, working hard, and fighting to learn to the best of my ability.”
Her positive and relentless spirit led her to be part of her high school’s Gay Straight Alliance for all four years and eventual becoming President; she saw this as a means of encouraging students to feel comfortable being themselves and she utilized her own coming out experience to highlight fearlessness, openness and acceptance within her school. Stated by a teacher of Stevie: “Stevie has never been afraid to be unique, or stand up for what she believes in. Other students consistently look to her for ideas, inspiration, and encouragement.” Furthermore, Stevie was president of Colorado Young Leaders and led other young people who volunteered with the organization’s partner non-profits. Stevie contributed over 500 community service hours in high school, and she volunteered as a certified snowboard instructor for the National Sports Center for the Disabled each weekend.