"Differences are amazing."

Learning disabilities disguised an incredible mind. Now Madison Rose is helping others facing the same obstacles.

As far back as first grade, Madison Rose recognized she was different. While she understood spoken instruction, she could not translate her knowledge into writing. She was held in for recess almost every day for extra help, yet she still fell behind her classmates. Left feeling like she wasn't smart, it took one observant teacher in seventh grade to change everything. Rather than taking the written quiz, this teacher gave it to Madison orally. She scored a 97%.

Suddenly, Madison and her teachers realized that she had an in-depth understanding of her classwork and her struggles had been in her ability to put it in writing. Despite having been diagnosed with several learning disabilities in first grade, including dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this was the moment that she truly began to flourish. By taking all of her tests orally that year, she went from barely passing to an A-plus.

Now that Madison knows and understands the obstacles before her, she is thriving. She recalls looking at Gonzaga in sixth grade and thinking that she wasn't smart enough to get in. Now she is a successful Gonzaga student and a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow in recognition for her work for students with learning disabilities.

Madison is a mentor for Eye to Eye, a program that matches a college student who has a learning disability with a middle school student with a similar challenge. She encourages students to become their own self-advocates, seek the accommodations they need to succeed, and to find their strengths.

Ultimately, Madison aims to become the U.S. Secretary of Education, where she can affect real change in the educational system and advocate for all the different ways people learn.

"It shouldn't be a disability; it's a difference. Differences are amazing."
- Madison Rose