Eighth-grader Sydney Jennings was recognized as Darlington's Optimist Club Student of the Semester on Dec. 6.
"Sydney will light up a room with her energy and smile!" said Kristen Bell, learning specialist, who introduced Jennings as the awards presentation. "A word that comes to mind when I think of her is self-driven. As Sydney has struggled with Dyslexia and ADHD, she has always pushed herself to not let these deficits define her. Over the years, she has overcome academic challenges and become an exceptional advocate for herself.
"As attention and lack of movement have been a huge hurdle for Sydney’s success in the classroom, she proposed a great idea to research, develop a committee, and design a grant to furnish flexible seating in all middle school classes, which was most recently approved by a private foundation," Bell continued. "This is a huge undertaking and will be so effective for so many of our students. The glow on Syd’s face as she sees all of the pieces of this grant being put together is just priceless. This is just a snapshot of how Sydney displays her energy, self-drive, and committment in areas that she is very passionate about."
Jennings is involved in football and basketball cheerleading.
Read the full text of her speech below:
Good afternoon. My name is Sydney Jennings. I am an eighth-grader at Darlington School. I would like to thank my Learning Center teacher, Mrs. Bell, and my parents, Ashley and Whitney Jennings, for being here with me today.
Since I was young, I have struggled with the diagnosis of Dyslexia and ADHD. I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD in the third grade, and I was placed in the Learning Center to learn tools to work on some of my weaknesses.
When sixth grade came around, I had to learn the lesson of time management. I would not turn in homework and just hoped the zeros would go away. They did not. By the second semester, Mrs. Bell helped me find a routine to finally figure things out and helped me make a complete turnaround. I completed my work and turned in all of my assignments.
Seventh grade was a time of learning how to study. Mrs. Bell showed me a variety of strategies and we were able to figure out which ones helped me retain the information the best.
Now that I am in eighth grade, I know what works best for me when it comes to studying and how to manage my time.
I still have struggles, but I know how to overcome them and learn from them. I am looking forward to going to high school so I can use all of the tools that have been given to me over the years to succeed in high school. Thank you.