RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

is pleased to announce the 2014 Award Winners! 

Each of these 5 students will receive $2500.00 paid to the college they attend in the fall of 2014.


Marcus Yancey- Richburg  
The Baltimore Lab School
Baltimore, Maryland 

High School Senior Marcus Yancey- Richburg had a dream to be a United States Air Force Pilot, but as he struggled in middle school, he began to believe this dream was not a was a possibility. After a trying middle school experience his dream seemed unattainable. Marcus was then tested and diagnosed with ADHD, Math and Reading Disorder. Marcus’s tutor at the time suggested he look at a specialized school that works with students with LD. The Baltimore Lab School was exactly what he needed! The move to this school gave him his confidence back, improved his grades and heightened his work ethic – which for him was a “shot through the roof”. Marcus is currently the President of his senior class, holding a 3.6 GPA and has been accepted to a top flight school in the country, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. As he said, he realizes his LD “will never go away”, but with hard work and perseverance, “success will happen”. We, at RiSE, believe that is true! Congrats Marcus!

Kirstie Kasch
Borger High School
Skellytown, TX.

Drive and determination are obvious when getting to know Kirstie!
As Rodeo Queen of the Top ‘O Texas Rodeo Association and member of the 4-H club where she shows steer in her home state of Texas, Kirstie shows her strength for focusing on her talent.
At age 9, she was diagnosed with Binocular Dysfunction and Dyslexia which have impacted her reading as “her eyes do not focus on one place or line in the story for long”, so her reading is impacted and reading aloud is a challenge. As a teen reading disorders can come with embarrassment. This being the case, Kirstie’s disabilities have not held her back; she has found by layering the paper with colored overlays and having teachers make copies on blue paper, the words do not appear like fish that are swimming across the page.

Vision therapy has helped Kirstie immensely over the years, as has a Dyslexia Training courses to prepare her for college. Kirstie has decided to focus on a major that does not require so much of “book and paper interaction”, but can focus on what she loves to do….be with horses and show compassion for others, which is why becoming an Equine Therapist, is her professional goal.

Lauris Maley
Commonwealth Connections Academy
Harrisburg, PA.

Adopted from Latavia when he was 5, Lauris recalls not speaking until he was 3.
Lauris believes that he may have had a lack of stimulation to his brain that caused his speech difficulties, but this quickly changed when he came to live with his family in the States, where he said he “flourished” in the environment and was intrigued by the English language.

When school started his lack of reading skills made it difficult adjusting at school and was later diagnosed with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Auditory Processing Disorder. This diagnosis was helpful for him to realize why he was able to have a vivid story in his head, but when putting it on paper, the story lost its vibrancy. With his mom helping him scribe and with using technology such as Dragon Speak Naturally, he was able to overcome those difficulties and forge ahead in school. His childhood was also a bit difficult dealing with having hypersensitivity to sound. Lauris says that he can hear “everything”, which can be a blessing or a curse. This sensitivity tends to distract him making the choice to attend a cyber-school (high school online) a better option for him.

His senior English teacher describes Lauris as determined and self-motivated which is evident in the fact that he is a volunteer firefighter with dreams of pursuing life as a police office or firefighter as a career.

Kathryn Bolt
Northland Christian School
Houston, Texas

The energy from Kathryn is indisputable! Despite this Houston native’s struggle with an early childhood illness that caused significant reading and listening disabilities, Kathryn has been unstoppable ever since. Despite her struggles with Oral and Written Expression, as well as Math Reasoning and Calculations, she does not let it “define her”. She tends to focus on her extracurricular activities to gain confidence and to show her strengths. Kathryn enjoys a “challenge” and proved this on her recent Girl Scout of America service trip to Costa Rica, through where she assisted children in a remote school. In Panama, she volunteered in the conservation and protection of endangered animals, such as the leatherback turtle and iguanas.

Over the last 3 years, Kathryn has worked over 1000 service hours at organizations such as Meals on Wheels and the Abandoned Animal Rescue, held a senior class officer position, and enjoyed time in ballet and art. She enjoys time at home with her family and her dog, S’more, and is looking forward to heading to college this fall where she is going to request accommodations as a “safety net”, and use what she feels that she will need to succeed.

Johvonn Smith
The Galloway School
Atlanta, GA.

High School senior, Johvonn Smith, looks back on his LD and realizes his diagnosis has made him a better student and leader. The diagnosis, which he received at age 15, was helpful in discovering why he spent so much time studying and continued to do poorly on tests. He was frustrated at the time because he did not want to be different, but after finding ways that helped, such as asking to take his tests in a separate environment or oral testing, what others thought mattered less because he was seeing the benefits! The diagnosis helped him to become a self-advocate and to be comfortable in asking for an accommodation if it helped him succeed.

As a Student Ambassador for his school, a talented basketball player and a 10 year volunteer with Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, Johvonn has found what works for him to maintain his grades and even improve them while in high school. He has learned that sitting in front of the class, having a small class size and asking for extra help when feeling it is needed is helpful to his continued success and is searching for a college meets those needs. He is proud to be a role model for standing up for himself (as his English teacher, Ms. Fillyyaw, said that is very TALL man and role model). She remarks that he is a young man with a gentle and kind soul; “one who never turns his back on anyone because he knows what it’s like to struggle”.

The next application for high school, college bound seniors with a diagnosis of a specific learning disability will be posted on our website in the Fall of 2014. Be sure to share with a friend who has a LD or an educator you feel may be interested in sharing!