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By EHS Faculty Abby Hanrahan

I like wearing my disability on my sleeve – I’m not afraid to show it, or tell people about it.

On May 17, I had the honor of joining the Brady family in Lewisburg, PA for Walker Brady’s graduation. Many years ago, Walker, who graduated from EHS in 2004, spent hours in room 6, struggling to learn to read. Showing the determination that he’d use over and over again in his life, he worked hard on his studies and at his graduation was honored with the Headmaster’s Award for excellence.

From there, he re-entered the Greenwich Public School system. Since then, he has encountered many challenges; academic, medical, and personal, and has never backed down. He perseveres and advocates when others would probably give up. Walker Brady is an inspiration to all who meet him, and I feel fortunate to be able to celebrate his accomplishments.


Why Bucknell? Was there something about this school that made you decide to attend, even while knowing it could be challenging?

Well, I always knew I wanted a small school so I could learn in a small classroom size and have the opportunity to develop relationships with my professors. I never really took my disability into consideration. I wanted college to be a decision based on where I saw myself having the best four years of my life, and they were, but I was nervous going into college knowing there might not be much support for my disability. (Bucknell established a disability office while I was there.) There is always a way to overcome challenges, like getting tutors or creating study groups or having a study friend, or just working a little harder than most, to be honest.

What did you find most challenging? If the workload, how did you cope?

The academic work was definitely the most challenging aspect for me, but it helps to remember that’s why everyone is there. Then, your social life, since work and social life clash quite often. Some might say I got a bit too involved in student government, but I found a passion in student government and that’s my advice for making course work easier in college: you have to do what you love, with a strong passion of interest, so work is not really “work.”

What kept you motivated?

In other words, what did you love about this school and what you were learning there? I knew I was an underdog going to Bucknell, because it’s a very competitive school, but that was my motivation. The fire that drives me is exceeding other’s expectations of me, whether that’s my parents or the Eagle Hill family. I attribute graduating and where I am today to that spark of pushing the limits.

What do you hope to do with your education?

I have no idea, to be honest. Because Bucknell is a liberal arts college, I took many different subjects, which always kept learning exciting for me. I learned so much while at Bucknell, from the classes in sociology, economics, and psychology, to education and lab sciences. I have become really interested in the systems and culture of other countries.

What's your next move?

I will be heading off to Hong Kong this summer (2015), to work in a dyslexic reading program for English speakers. I was presented the opportunity by my Eagle Hill family. I am heading to the other side of the world to experience a culture completely different from here in the United States, and I could not be more excited to depart.

Is there a strategy you learned at EHS that continues to help you?

Be your loudest self-advocate! I know I learn in particular ways that work best for me, and these ways might not always be what are taught or used in the mainstream setting. But I would tell all with a disability to embrace it. I always liked being different. I like wearing my disability on my sleeve – I’m not afraid to show it, or tell people about it.

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