When Julia Filegi graduates from high school this year, the graceful, honey-haired scholar will have racked up more academic honors and community service awards than anyone else in her class at an all-girls' school in Dallas.
"Her moral integrity is what sets her apart," says Chris Turner, an English teacher who selected Julia for the school's literature award two years in a row. "We looked at GPA, but also considered responsibility, discipline, focus, and participation -- the things that make a well-rounded student. Julia has all those things."
Julia also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD).
Diagnosed in second grade, when a teacher expressed concern about her wandering attention, Julia has had her share of struggles. She often forgot to bring home her books and assignments, and her parents had to go to school after hours and beg a custodian to let them in. "Teachers were not very supportive," remembers her father, Jim, a doctor, who also has ADD/ADHD.
"Sometimes we felt there was no light at the end of the tunnel," says Julia's mother, Irene. "Dealing with ADD/ADHD requires more effort from children, and more from parents, too. Reading was always difficult for her, so we read to her all the time."
This article appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of ADDitude. SUBSCRIBE TODAY to ensure you don't miss a single issue.