Student Essay: Chasing Optimism in the Face of Challenges 1 of 3

Student Essay: Chasing Optimism in the Face of Challenges 1 of 3

(Morgan Stafford, March 3, 2017)

An excuse, by my definition, is to place blame or find fault in the possible ways you can overcome or complete something. Challenges, I can definitely say, are familiar to me.  My grandmother always states, “Our challenges are only as great as we make them. “I didn’t always understand what that meant, but, oh boy would I learn.

When I was four, my mother noticed I had trouble hearing, understanding, and pronouncing certain words. My mother and I would read all the time. She would work with me in all kinds of fun ways to help me learn to read and write. When I started kindergarten my mother told my teacher she was concerned about my speech and a possible hearing problem. I saw a doctor who specializes in ears, nose and throat. The doctor stated I had an underdeveloped cochlear tube in my left ear. This just means that during my mother’s pregnancy, my ear canal did not complete the growing process and reduced the amount of sound I could hear. I was diagnosed with auditory processing delay. Children that have this condition suffer not only from a lack of hearing well, but lack the ability to speak and comprehend at appropriate levels. Thus, I was placed in speech therapy.

My mom and a speech therapist worked hard to help me overcome my learning challenges. I remember struggling, getting frustrated, and feeling sad, sometimes, during elementary school. My mother always encouraged me and even researched famous people who had condition similar to mine. A few of those people were Denzel Washington, Tiger Woods and Whoopie Goldberg. Knowing about these people helps me to feel less alone and showed me that my condition did not have to limit what I could achieve.

When I was eight, I had surgery to remove my tonsils and adenoids. This helped my ability to hear. I started to do much better in school and no longer needed speech therapy. I begin to make the honor roll and with showcased twice as student of the month. My confidence increased dramatically. I was so happy! I worked harder and surpassed any excuse I could make.

My mother always told me all things are possible with God. faith and a positive spirit is all He requires. We have a motto in our household to speak what we want into existence, but remember you have to do the work. I would learn my most valuable lessons over the past year. In the summer, I began to get sick weekly. I would have high fevers, aches, and feel very tired. I pushed myself and continued to dance every day in my dance company’s camp. I would dance six hours a day. Dancing is my favorite thing to do. It takes me to another world were only happiness exists.

Unfortunately, the thing I loved was exhausting me and sending me to the doctor. After several emergency and doctor visits, I learned that I have an auto immune disease called Lupus. Autoimmune diseases affect the body’s ability to heal itself.

I have determined, however, that lupus will not overtake me. I remain active through dancing and keep your positive attitude. I created a word for each letter in the spelling of lupus. My creation was a way of displaying faith that greater is coming. Look up, praise, unwavering and strive are the words I was moved to see. I will keep my head to the sky because I know I am blessed I am on wavering in my strength, and I will praise God through my journey. Finally I will continue to strive at being the best Morgan I can be. The Lupus foundation has many motivational phrases for those that suffer with this ugly disease. My favorite is “I define who I am. Lupus is just a bully I beat every morning when I get out of bed. ”

I created a vision board, and it is awesome. I review my vision board often, as it motivates me. I speak into existence that I will be great. I will continue to work hard and spite of any obstacles that come my way. I will go to college. I will have my dream career as a pediatrician. I will dance forever. I will be Hills and never stop until I accomplish the goals I set forth. I will fully understand what my grandma states to me all the time, “Our challenges are only as great as we make them. “By chasing after him isn’t in the face of challenges I have been able to face serious learning and medical conditions with Grace, and continue to make a life for myself that will fulfill all of my dreams.

Stafford is a 12 year old who attends Thompson K-8 International Academy in Southfield.

Optimist International hosts a contest each year to award scholarships for young people.  Participants enter through their local Optimist Club and winning entries advance regionally.  State Representative Jeremy Moss presented certificates to the top three finalists in February. The Optimist Club of Southfield-Lathrup has shared their top three essays to help inspire Oakland County Times readers. Here is the first in this series.  Learn more about the group at

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