Amaya Savoy Easton: 2019 IVC Foundation Scholarship Recipient

October 11, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski

Hi. Good morning, everyone. In my family we
thank everyone when we gather, and today, as we gather, I’d like to thank a few
special people. Especially the facilities crew. We always see them working hard and
events like these wouldn’t be possible without them. [applause] Thanks to the cafeteria
staff and Cindy for the amazing breakfast they provided. [applause] The administration, faculty, and staff for their unending encouragement of students.
And, of course, the scholarship donors, whose generosity supports students and
their futures. [applause] My name is Amaya Savoy Easton. I am a communications major. I would like to thank the foundation office for the opportunity to share my
story with you all today. Here’s my story. I never thought I could go to college.
Not because I couldn’t afford it, but because I thought I wasn’t smart enough.
One day, in my sophomore English class at Northwood High School, I was writing and
I misspelled my own name and a few other simple words. I knew there was something
wrong. I told my friends about what had happened and one of them suggested that
I could be dyslexic. I was taken aback. I didn’t know what dyslexia was. I drove
home with tears streaming down my face and I told my mom what had happened and what
my friends had said. That’s when she told me the news that changed my world: I am
dyslexic. So for 10 out of 14 years of my educational career, I thought I was dumb.
I often questioned why I was always taken out of class and put in special
groups. I was always trying to catch up with the other kids and had a difficult
time reading. I usually thought to myself, “Irvine is very competitive, and if I went
to another school I’d be smart.” In reality, it wasn’t only my environment–
it was me. In elementary school, my teachers didn’t give me the
encouragement I needed. Instead, they made me feel worse. Especially my third-grade
teacher, who once said to me, “Hurry up! Is that book really hard for you to read?” I
was trying my best, but to her I wasn’t trying hard enough. That memory followed
me throughout my educational career. Whenever I was given an assignment that
required writing an essay or reading, I always asked myself, “Why try? Because either
way, you’ll fail.” Luckily, my parents always saw my potential and knew that I
could do anything if I put my mind to it. That day when my mom told me I was
dyslexic, she said she didn’t tell me earlier because she didn’t want me to
limit myself. She knew I was capable of great things. But little did she know I
already had. By the time I started applying for colleges, I didn’t have good
enough grades to get me anywhere because I thought I was only capable of Bs and
Cs. My mom suggested going to community college and starting fresh. Even though I
had a huge fear of college and all the challenges and lengthy research papers
it holds, I knew that college is an amazing opportunity. My mother had gone
to college, as the first in her family, as a young single mother, who later became
valedictorian. If she could do it, then I could do it. Once I got to IVC, I was
still stuck with the same discouraging mentality until I took a Writing 1
course with Professor Polydoros. She gave me the encouragement I needed
to face my reading and writing challenges. She believed in me when I
didn’t believe in myself. When I first started her class,
I could barely write two-page papers. Now I write 15-page papers. [chuckles] [applause and cheering] Thank you. While in her class I read
my first book cover-to-cover– [crying] [applause] –thank you– since elementary school. Since taking the class with Professor
Polydoros, my transcript is covered in As like never before. [crying] [applause] Sorry. [chuckles] I’ve made Dean’s List twice and I
even challenged myself to take two honors courses. Positive and passionate
professors like Professor Polydoros are what make successful and well-rounded
students here at IVC. Not only are the professors determined to provide
students with a quality education, but also the faculty and staff at IVC
support student growth. I’ve experienced this while joining Associated Student
Government and Student Equity, where I was mentored by Cessa Heard-Johnson and
many others. [Applause] They gave me the push I needed to get out of my comfort zone and
take advantage of opportunities that I used to pass. When I was given the
opportunity to make videos for this school, I found my voice and my passion.
And when I found my passion, I found my future. Thanks to them, I am proud to say
I am a Senator of Humanities, Student Equity leader, Promise Program mentor, and
the 2018 Homecoming Queen. [applause and cheering] Never in my wildest dreams did I think I
was capable of these achievements. I wouldn’t be here without the incredible
support of my IVC community. I once thought I could never go to college
because of my dyslexia and lack of courage. But today, I stand here as a
college-level student who is transferring to Texas State University
for communications and public relations in the fall. [chuckles] [applause] I would like to
thank my parents for their unwavering support of me and always seeing my
potential. Thanks to the faculty and staff who wake up every day and inspire
students to have courage to face life’s challenges while being a student. And
students, congratulations to all the winners today. I have no doubt that every
one of you will excel in your futures. You have worked unbelievably hard to get
to where you are today. And lastly, I would like to thank the donors today for
investing in my future and the future of students here at IVC. Nothing is more
encouraging than people who believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.
To stand here with other scholarship winners, surrounded by people like you
who believe in us without really knowing us, is so
inspiring. This memory will help us persevere when things get tough, when we
meet people who don’t believe in us, or when our belief in ourself weakens. So
thank you for believing in us and in our futures. Thank you. [applause]