Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Haley Avery is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These $1,000 scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community.
In the summer of 2012, Hailey awoke one morning to find herself unable to get out of bed. Struck with sudden paraplegia, she was rushed into emergency surgery. Over the next 20 months, she endured 13 major surgeries to remove cysts along her spine. These surgeries left her with a variety of ongoing issues, including recurring paralysis.
Looking back on her ongoing struggles, one thing became abundantly clear: Hailey refused to be defeated, to give up or to lose. She made up her mind that she would overcome this obstacle. Hailey chose to combat her challenges with resilience and strength and her determination is to be greatly admired.
Due to her previous surgeries and continuing spinal cord abnormalities, Hailey has gained a new sense of empathy for others. She’s found that what she has gone through isn’t unique in the sense that we all have something we are suffering through. In addition, Hailey has learned that not all struggles are physical, and this has helped her as she has succeeded in her academic studies and in her professional pursuits.
Most of Hailey’s surgeries occurred during her freshman and sophomore years of high school and because of this she completed her studies online. Employers that review her academic records have asked her about this and at first it made her uncomfortable. At that point she was more private and guarded about discussing matters related to her health. Her point of view on this matter has since changed. She now believes that her struggles with her spine have given her a new perspective and have allowed her to connect with others. Hailey has become a lot more accepting of herself and is able to use her own experiences as a way to relate to and communicate with other people.
Hailey is currently a student at Arizona State University at Tempe-Barrett, The Honors College. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with certifications in International Business Studies and Data Analytics, with a minor in Russian. After she completes her undergraduate education, she plans to work for a government agency for a few years. She hopes to then either go on to get an MBA or go to Law School. She has even thought about potentially working in tax law matters as future career path.
Her advice to anyone enduring a physical or mental struggle is to never give up. “Although you’re often limited by your struggles, you can always push past them and change your world for the better,” she said. “I initially thought I’d never be able to walk again. I’d never finish high school and go onto college. Now, I’m doing things that I have never dreamt of. The world and your situation do not limit you. Your mind is the only thing that sets you back from your dreams.”
Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Sean Drum is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community. Recipients of the award receive $1,000 to assist them with their educational expenses.
Sean is a fantastic example of how someone with a learning disability can achieve their goals through persistence, dedication and hard work. As an Eagle Scout, Sean learned plenty of valuable life lessons while working on his Eagle Scout project. He created an accessible bird blind on the Trail of Hope in Lyons, NY. During this project, he had to work with many local business leaders and organize many different steps of the overall process.
Instead of worrying about his ADHD affecting his capability of leading this multifaceted project, Sean was able to use his ADHD to his advantage. He figured out creative solutions to the problems he encountered during his time working on this project, and he successfully made improvements to the bird blind that benefited the whole community.
Sean has never let his ADHD limit his learning capacity in the classroom either. He plans to become a successful welder at Alfred State College of Technology. He enjoys working with his hands and plans to fill a need in his community. He has ambitious goals for his welding career after college, wanting to gain as much work experience and learn as much about the profession as he can.
His ultimate goal is to restore historic aircraft in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Also, recognizing that he has an active mind, he wants to eventually return to school to study history.
Not only does Sean enjoy giving back to his community, he also wants to help others that suffer from ADHD. He believes the best way to combat the struggles of ADHD is to never give up, continue to try your hardest in all that you do and always believe in yourself. He suggests that if you struggle with studying or sitting still for hours, doing things with your hands can help you stay focused and avoid getting distracted.
Overall, Sean doesn’t view his ADHD as a disability, but rather as a unique gift that helps him learn and have experiences that other people may not consider.
Auger & Auger is proud to announce that Jon Cowart is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. Twice a year, these scholarships are presented to students throughout America who have overcome their disability and exceeded the limiting expectations placed upon them. Recipients of the award receive $1,000 to assist them with their educational expenses.
Jon Cowart exemplifies positivity and hard work in every aspect of his life. Growing up, Jon constantly dealt with pain in both of his feet due to a birth defect that left them deformed. However, he never let this slow him down, even for a moment. Instead of feeling defeated because he couldn’t participate in all the activities that other boys his age were doing, Jon trusted in his motto — Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — and started actively pursuing his interest in engineering. He has always hoped to become a successful engineer, so he will be able to develop inventions and other innovations that will help others with birth defects avoid the suffering that he experienced.
As Jon entered high school in Pennsylvania, he was given the opportunity to have an experimental surgery performed on his feet to ease his pain. Instead of being afraid, he was excited about the prospect of being able to walk at a normal pace and potentially participate in athletic activities. After a successful surgery, Jon put his strong sense of determination and perseverance to work. Every single day he had to put forth 100% effort in his rehabilitation program to get to the level of movement that he wanted to reach.
Even setbacks couldn’t slow him down. He suffered a fracture in one of his hands in a weightlifting accident, but quickly underwent surgery to replace the bone with a titanium implant and was back in the gym as soon as he was cleared. He now plays on various intramural sports teams at his college, Penn State University.
Jon’s ambition is not only evident on a sports field or in a weight room, it is also clearly visible in the classroom. While he was undergoing an extensive rehabilitation program, he did not settle for taking the easiest classes he could find. Instead, he pushed himself to take AP and honors classes in order to prepare himself for his next goal of excelling in college. Now at Penn State, Jon is pursuing an engineering degree and continues to do his best in the classroom on a daily basis, never letting his disability be an excuse or hold him back.
Jon’s story serves as an inspiration for anyone, but especially for others with physical disabilities who believe they can never achieve certain physical goals. However, Jon is not satisfied with only being an inspiration. He hopes to continue to pursue his engineering goals at Penn State and develop the technology that will help others born with a similar disability to his.