It took a few years, but Taylor Grizzle has finally found his comfort zone.
More than anything, the Central Valley senior found it within himself – through hard work and growing self-confidence.
Diagnosed at an early age with dyslexia, Grizzle struggled in and out of the classroom.
Lessons were difficult; so was the social pressure of being the kid who’s “different.”
“He’s worked hard for everything,” said Erin Teterud, a counselor at Central Valley. “He’s had to toe the line and make some hard adjustments, but he’s the kind of kid who just hunkers down.
“He’s just very resilient. He’s decided that he’ll do what he needs to get things done.”
The payoff comes this month, as Grizzle will earn his diploma. That much wasn’t in doubt, but Grizzle will get to the podium with less assistance than most students with similar issues.
“It was definitely a struggle at times, and I’ve had to overcome some hardships with reading and memorizing,” Grizzle said. “But I’ve figured out ways to cope.”
He also learned to cope with that sense of feeling a bit “different.”
“When you’re that age, people look at you differently when they find out that you’re in a different class,” said his mother, Amy Grizzle.
“He had to overcome that, and he’s gotten to the point where he’s much more comfortable being in those classes because he understands that they are helping him – and they really have helped him.”
Those classes include only two subjects, English and math. Grizzle is otherwise enrolled in regular classes at Central Valley.
“Taylor exemplifies the kid that grew up with everything against him, has been on an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and has struggled with all the pressures from friends,” counselor Kara Twining said.
“However, he has overcome. We are very proud of his perseverance when things are tough and his positive attitude toward life. He has his eyes on the prize of graduation and great hope in his future.”
For now, that includes working with his stepfather, painting and staining doors and molding for Everhart Painting in Spokane Valley.
Poised with one eye toward college, Grizzle also enjoys the hands-on work.
“Probably because it’s simple, and I like the physical work,” said Grizzle, who also wants to save some money should he go on to community college or a four-year school.
Reflecting on his years of struggle and triumph, Grizzle said, “There’s always something you can do, to not feel embarrassed and to help yourself grow.”
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