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Norton: Actions lead to inspiration
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Throughout elementary school, I struggled with my dyslexia, and I still do to this very day. At the time, I was just going along for the ride. I still tried hard in school but I had low self-esteem because of bullying. Things didn't start to change with my dyslexia until fifth grade.

I was lucky and had a really good teacher, Mrs. Schmitt, who inspired me and started to change my life. She helped grow my self-esteem by giving me responsibilities and honors. She let me be a hall monitor and vice president of the 4-H Club. To me, that was a great honor and it meant a lot to me.
In elementary school, I felt like I never got chosen to do anything because nobody liked me. Mrs. Schmitt could only choose a couple to kids to be hall monitors and she chose me. I was so very happy at that point. For the 4-H Club, my teacher had to choose who would be the secretary, vice president and president. She let everyone write down what they wanted to be. I chose either president or vice president and I was so happy and honored when she chose me to be vice president of 4-H.

What really inspired me the most was when Mrs. Schmitt would read to us in class every day. Near the end of the year, she had started reading this really good book, "Molly Moon" by Georgia Byng, and she never got to finish it. I really wanted to know the ending.

The next year, I went to my new middle school's library to see if I could find the book. When I found the book, I checked it out and started to read it. I soon found out the book was part of a series and I was so excited. That book truly launched my love of books. I started to read like crazy and because I started to read so much, my reading level sky rocketed.

I started to be able to write better, read at a higher level and imagine better stories. My eyes were truly opened to the importance of reading.

Once I got into high school, my eyes were open to billions of futures and new opportunities that I could have. I started taking actions to better myself and others.

I have gotten into RCA, a career center where I can take classes to learn and practice any career path I choose, and am in the process of becoming a teacher myself. I am even in Future Educators of America and am the assistant to the president of the club. We mainly help out at the senior citizen's house called the Remington House. Every year, we throw a prom for them.

When I think about what I want to do with my life as I get older, I think about what job would benefit others when it really comes down to it. The only job that gave me the opportunity to change a child's life for the better - like my teacher changed mine - was teaching. My teacher's actions truly inspired me to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. She truly is a leader and I hope to follow her example.

Heritage High School 10th grader Summer Norton won the 2013 Rotary Club of Conyers "Laws of Life" Essay Contest for Heritage.