David, an eighth grade student, labeled dyslexic with reading problems,
wanted to take up sailing as a hobby. He was apprehensive when he had his
first lesson. While he was in the ninth grade he bought his first little
sabot sailboat. He was scared and discouraged when he
accidently crashed it into a seawall during a storm some weeks later.
As his reading tutor, I introduced him to the book Dove, the true
story of a 14 year old boy who sailed a small sailboat, all alone, around the
world. With much encouragement and support from me, and with much
determination from David, he excitedly struggled through the book and finally
finished it - one of the first books David had ever finished.
David's possibilities were expanded. From that point on, David wanted
someday to sail around the world. I steered David toward writing a research
paper on the Panama Canal. David listened attentively while I shared my
stories with him of teaching in Jamaica.
Today, nine years later, over Christmas break, David and I went on a hike. This time he was telling the stories. He told me he had spent the past two years sailing his parents' 100 foot sailboat from Los Angeles, through the Panama Canal, and up the Caribbean chain. Although David still has learning differences, he now attends college in Florida majoring in International Trade Relations.