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Scott is a 'shining star' at Enumclaw High
People who know Erica Scott describe her with words like "impressive," "shining star," "hard-working" and "inspirational."
The Enumclaw High School-graduating senior blushes slightly at the praise. But the Black Diamond youth is not shy to tell people she has worked hard to overcome a learning disability to achieve a 3.5 grade-point average and walk with her classmates across the stage Monday night at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup to receive her diploma.
"I know I'm not as amazing as other people," she said. "But I've had to overcome some challenges with the help and support of my family and friends."
"She's a tremendous student. She's a tremendous person," EHS teacher Rod Lobdell said of Scott. "I use the word tremendous a lot when I talk about her because she is so tremendous.
"In the face of those challenges, with family support and her work ethic, she has torn it up," he said. "If all my kids could catch what she's got it would be great."
Scott credits her mother's determination and persistence to her success.
"She was awesome to get me the help I needed," she said.
The help came early in elementary school when Scott was diagnosed with dyslexia, a reading disorder. Her math and reading wasn't at grade level. She started heading to the resource room for additional tutoring.
For the first time, she left the resource class this year to try and make it on her own.
"Obviously, it worked," she beams. She pulled a perfect 4.0 grade-point average each semester, taking classes like English, government and math. She's also the school's FCCLA treasurer and is an active member of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Kent, teacher school, participating on the drama team, singing at prayer worship and being a member of the youth group.
"She won't use her disability as an excuse," EHS counselor Rick Hofstrand said. "She's learned to compensate for any difficulty and sets high goals."
Next up is college, followed by a career as a teacher. Scott heads off to Green River Community College in the fall and plans to transfer later to Central Washington University in Ellensburg to earn a teaching degree.
And she's not scared off by the naysayers who pooh-pooh education these days.
"I really relate to kids. They make me laugh and cry. I think my calling's definitely teaching. I want to do something that makes me happy. I want to get up and go to work and like my job.
"I can be a great teacher and educator," Scott said. "With my experience I can spot them a little faster and pinpoint it (disabilities) sooner so kids don't slip through the cracks and can get they help that they need."
"I think she's just going to be an excellent teacher," Hofstrand said.
Lobdell said Scott would be a better-than-average teacher because she will be compassionate and understand those tough times.
"She's come so far and has done so incredibly well," Lobdell said. "She will be one of the best elementary teachers. She has a great positive attitude, more, and more positive, bubbly and up. Infectiously so," he said.
Lobdell also had praise for her family.
"Obviously her family has been there for her. Kudos to her, but to her family as well for being there."
"Going through school has been fun and I hope to succeed and be a teacher," Scott said. "I've worked hard. If you worked very hard it will all come to you in the end. In the real world you'll be on top of it."
Brenda Sexton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org