Glen Burnie student overcomes learning disability, seeks presidency

— William Shorter, dreams of holding political office one-day. Be it state delegate, governor, senator or the oval office, the Glen Burnie High School senior says he envisions these offices when he closes his eyes and lays his head on his pillow at night.

It’s likely that the University of Baltimore-bound student has very few doubters after overcoming a serious learning disability to achieve his diploma.

“When I was in the second grade, I was placed in special education because of my poor test grades,” William said. “I didn’t have the ability to pick things up as quickly as my classmates and I basically had to work to overcome [that].”

It wasn’t until high school that William was able to move on from an Individualized Education Program, which gave him individual academic goals and special accommodations, but also placed him under the special education label.

“I doubted myself always because I couldn’t do what others could do but my parents and my teachers always pushed me to reach higher,” he said.

When school officials held an IEP meeting with William while he was in the tenth grade, he said he didn’t know what to expect. However, once he was informed that he would no longer be on an IEP, he said he was thrilled.

“I thought it would be a normal meeting in which they’d tell me that they were going to continue with the plan,” he said. “Instead, it went a lot different than what

I thought. They told me how I had improved and that they were taking me off IEP.

I felt liberated because I no longer had a title and I didn’t need a crutch anymore.”

So, as he prepared to walk down the aisle, donning his cap and gown, William excitedly gazed into his suddenly bright future, unveiling his dreams of making a difference through political office. After graduation, Will plans to chase those dreams by pursuing a major in government and public policy. Then, he hopes to attend law school before hitting the campaign trail.

“I like helping people,” he said. “I would like to encourage people to rise above their problems. I want to support education because I know how much it changed my life and I’d like to reduce poverty because where I live there’s a lot of poverty and there’s low income. I know my life has changed so I want to help others to do that too.”