My name is Nicholas Pina, I am a 2012 graduate of Golder College Prep and this is my Noble story. In grammar school I was having great difficulty with math and writing, but excelled in reading. After testing, I was told that I had what was known as a Non-Verbal Learning Disability. My learning disability explained why I struggled with subjects such as math and impacted my fine motor skills. My learning disability also affects me being able to tie shoelaces, button shirts, and open locks. I was happy that I excelled with my communication skills and reading. I graduated from grammar school in 2008 and throughout the summer I worried about where I was going to go to high school and be able to get the help I needed to graduate.

My mom searched for a school that had special education services that would help with my learning disability. While researching schools my mom found the Noble Network of Charter Schools. I applied for Golder College Prep and got accepted. I went to orientation and was a little nervous about being able to keep up with the curriculum. I attended my first week at Golder, and I was so afraid of being able to keep up with my peers academically and socially. After a week I left Golder, I felt that I didn’t have the confidence to be a high school student. I wanted so much to be a high school graduate and go on to college to pursue my dreams. I left because I didn’t feel I would be successful in high school and didn’t think I could excel academically.

After a few weeks, my mom convinced me to give Golder another chance. My mom called the principal and had a meeting. The principal allowed me to re-enroll at Golder and reassured me the staff would do whatever they could to help me complete high school. I had a lot of catching up to do, but I knew I would be able to do it.

“My advisory brothers, friends and teachers were the most amazing group of supporters. I was never ostracized or made fun of instead I was accepted for who I was.”

My first year at Golder was challenging academically and socially, but the support system I had at Golder was amazing. They gave me a locker code that would help me with opening my locker, and they also gave me extra time to change for gym, because of the challenge I had with buttoning my shirt and pants. My advisory brothers, friends and teachers were the most amazing group of supporters. I was never ostracized or made fun of instead I was accepted for who I was. Each year my confidence grew, and I felt like the rest of my peers. I joined basketball and baseball. I went to office hours every week to pass my math classes, and because of that I didn’t have to go to summer school. After a couple of years, I was able to change with the rest of my peers and gained the confidence to move forward. The time came when I was able to call myself a senior in high school, looking back I thought I would never get to say that. When I walked onto that stage to receive my diploma, I knew I had made it. I focused on how far I came, and far I was going to go. I knew my strong points and I know my weak points, but they only made me stronger.

I’ve always wanted to be a broadcast journalist, so after high school I attended the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, where I received my associates degree in communications. I am currently enrolled at the University of Phoenix, where I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications and a certificate in journalism. I expect to graduate in January 2019. I’ve had the opportunity to do two internships at WGN TV and one at WGN Radio. I also was a sports intern at Comcast SportsNet, I’m so fortunate to have had these opportunities. I never thought I would’ve come this far, but with all the wonderful support from my family, and Golder College Prep, I was able to succeed. I truly believe you can do anything if you really put your mind to it. I am so proud to share my story with the current and future students of Noble, but most importantly with all students who have learning disabilities. With the right support system from family and school, your dreams can come true. Believe in yourself and know that you are important and capable of anything.

At Noble, we are college bound. As the largest charter public school network in Chicago, Noble’s high school program exposes our students to higher education options and guides them through the collegiate application process. Through college trips, college fairs, summer college immersion programs and required academic courses, Noble demystifies the college experience and shapes students’ beliefs and confidence about higher education.

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