Congratulations to the 2013 RiSE Scholarship Winners! 





Alex Arth

Atlanta, Georgia 

  • Varsity Baseball Player, Recipient of the Ga. Certificate of Merit, Assistant Coach who teaches baseball to children with physical disabilities and member of the National Honor Society.
  • Graduating Class in the class of 2013 from The Howard School 

On his way to Reinhardt University in the fall this straight A student has a lot to celebrate!  Described to RiSE , by his high school principal, as a compassionate, hard working student who works to fulfill and surpass expectations is a long way from the child Alex remembers himself when he was trying to learn to read.

Already feeling misunderstood as a kindergartener; Alex Arth felt that the reading teacher was going to fast and that she did not recognize that he was trying his best.  He began to hate school.

When his family made the decision to change schools, he moved to the Howard School, a school that specializes in teaching students with a variety of learning disabilities. According to Alex he “finally felt my continuous efforts transformed to positive results.” Finding multiple resources to help him overcome his learning challenges,  along with humor, he says have helped him to be the student he is today. “Being able to laugh at yourself” allow you to calm down if the work is too stressful. 

His advice to others with LD is to be willing to take the next step, and to do this with confidence in yourself and your abilities. His school’s motto is “ A Different Approach makes all the Difference. “ Alex says he “now knows this to be true”.


Robert Booker

Los Angeles, California 

  • Graduating 2013 from the Westchester Enriched Science Magnets High School
  • Attending the California Maritime Academy to study Global Studies and Maritime Affairs.  

Honors received:

Presidential Community Service Award, Naval Sea Cadet Corps Unit Commendation Award, and US Marine Corps Devil PUBS Platoon Cadet Award. 

Getting to know Robert, it is easy to see he has drive! 

He knows what he wants and his dreams “keeps him focused.” His desire to be a pilot and to become an officer in the Marine Corps,  have lead him down an interesting path. As a child he had a resource specialist who sat next to him during his mainstreamed classes to make sure he completed his assignments correctly, this was very helpful, but to a child trying to fit in, a bit embarrassing. The experience was frustrating and he began to “hate” school. 

In 6th grade he got a “fresh” start and had new friends and new support staff that encouraged him and helped him to become an honor roll student with a 3.3. As his schooling evolved, so did his interest in Naval Aviation. He was able to get an opportunity to be a part of the LAPD Cadet program and eventually in the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps. In this environment, having a LD made him have to “work harder’, but also he was able to “use his military knowledge to visualize and relate to academic courses at school”. Robert feels that his hardships of having learning difficulties have been a “tool of motivation to adapt and overcome hurdles.” 

We are excited to watch Robert’s pursuit of his dream and watch him fly for our country!


Scott Fujiwara

Mililani, Hawaii 

  • Basketball player and student at Hanalani High School
  • Plans to attend Landmark College, Fall 2013 

Scott felt relief to understand why reading was so difficult when he was told he had dyslexia at age 9. He has learned a lot about himself since his diagnosis. In his testimony to the Hawaiian Education Committee earlier this year, Scott explained that as an early reader he recognized shapes of words and memorized them, instead of learning the syllables and phonics which when learning to read became a struggle. 

After moving to a school that had a principal that was dyslexic, he was able to receive the help he needed. Today he is using assistive technology like suri, books on iBook’s and kurweil “to help him read fast enough to do my homework”. 

Scott’s common sense and humor certainly set him apart. When speaking about receiving accommodations at school and feeling embarrassed by it, his advice to others is to not to be “embarrassed or too stubborn to accept accommodations, even if you feel others think you are getting an unfair advantage.” Saying no to extended time for him was “as sensible as my 92 year old great aunt refusing to use a hearing aid because she did not want other people to know she needs it and because she hears well enough without it (which is not true)”. 

Scott will be in for a shock coming from Hawaii to Vermont this fall, but know it will be the shock in the weather, not in the schoolwork, as we know he is well equipped! Congratulations!


Logan Quertomous

Dexter, MO 

  • Football Player, Wrestler, and baseball player
  • Graduating Class of 2013 from Dexter High School
  • Attending Faulkner University in fall of 2014 

As a natural born athlete who was accustomed to competition, Logan felt defeated when he was told he has ADD and dyscalculia in 7th grade. He felt that he was slipping farther and farther behind in class. His grades had fallen to a 1.9 GPA when he finally embraced the help that the special education class could provide. 

Today he, a minister’s son, believes that his diagnosis was a gift from God. As his teacher remarked, the shift in perspective made Logan realize “he was able, not disabled”. He fought through the labels and became a self-advocate for himself. This change in attitude, hard work and taking advantage of the help of his educators could provide, made his low grades a thing of the past. Today he is graduating with a 3.2 GPA and headed to Alabama to continue his success!


Jennifer Westburgh

New City, New York

  • Filmmaker, skateboarder, basketball player and member of the Rowing Club
  • Graduating in the class of 2013 from Clarkston High School North. 

Described by her teachers as honest, athletic, straightforward, and kind, Jen is well received by friends and teachers at her high school and at the School of Visual Arts Camp Program she attended to improve upon her filmmaking skills. Already finding her passion, her love of filmmaking has ignited her determination and helped her choose the school and career path that she hopes to follow.As a child and remembering when she first realized she had an LD, she remembers feeling “ bad” that she could not keep up in her schoolwork.

In eighth grade, Jen’s parents wanted her to take Special Education classes, but she was upset by the stigma that surrounded them”. She ended up accepting the help they provided and now said that without the special ed help she would have never passed her Regents tests to graduate and would not have been able to receive the grades that she now has. She tells others in the same situation to know that they are capable and smart as anyone else, “it might take you longer to understand a concept, but you still have the same capabilities and intelligence to achieve above and beyond your expectations and anyone else’s. “  In the end, learning to ask for help and accepting it could be the most valuable attribute to your school career and future.”


  The RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is a resource and scholarship award for high school students with learning differences.

High School Students are able to apply for this award in the spring of their high school year.

Please see the icon “Award Application” on the RiSE homepage for further details of how to apply.