When Eric Atkinson was growing up in Victorville, some of his teachers told him he was stupid.
You get told something so many times in so many ways and it starts to get to you," he said. I almost didn't graduate from high school because of this, my low self-esteem."
He is not stupid. Far from it. But he is dyslexic, living with an impairment in his brain's system of translating information that can strike people of any intelligence.
Atkinson was not diagnosed with the condition until he was an adult in community college.
He not only overcame his disability and collected three degrees -- and is working on a fourth -- but a paper he wrote comparing the origins of hip-hop with the development of bebop jazz 60 years ago captured first place last summer in a national competition.
He is a very smart, very interesting young man," said Kathryn Ervin, who teaches theater at Cal State San Bernardino. He was one of the best writers in the class when I had him in the African American Theatre class."
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