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Monday, April 8, 2013

Overcoming Dyslexia, Finding Passion

Piper Otterbein at TEDxYouth@CEHS

January 12, 2013

Piper Otterbein is a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School.

Piper was born in New York, but she has lived in Cape Elizabeth for the past eleven years. In first grade, she was diagnosed with a learning disability. While Piper struggled throughout elementary school, it was not until 7th grade that this disability was identified as dyslexia.

Piper and her family spent a great deal of time and resources trying to fix her dyslexia; during her middle school years, Piper spent countless hours after school in tutoring programs. Although she was determined to be successful in school, work took a long time to complete, and she frequently found herself frustrated and exhausted.

When Piper entered high school, she had a revelation; rather than focusing all of her energy on the challenges in her life, she decided to alter her outlook and focus instead on her strengths.

While she remained a conscientious student, Piper threw herself into what she loved most: the arts, event organizing, and community involvement. Today, Piper has a strong presence in the CEHS community. She juggles painting, ceramics, and drawing with her involvement in student council, SEED, the planning of the TEDx youth conference at CEHS, and her part-time jobs working in a furniture store and babysitting.

All of Piper's talent and hard work has paid off; next fall, she will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she will study interior design and accessory design.

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