Hannah Sherman Wins Learning Ally National Achievement Award

Kendall Park resident proves that dyslexia is no obstacle to educational success

PRINCETON, NJ – Learning Ally, a 65-year-old nonprofit serving individuals with learning and visual disabilities, has bestowed a National Achievement Special Honors Award to Hannah Sherman of Kendall Park, New Jersey.  Sherman, who is severely dyslexic, is one of several students from across the U.S. who will receive cash awards of $2,000 in recognition of their academic excellence, extraordinary leadership, and service to others.

Sherman graduated from the Pennington School in June, and her resume brims over with awards, activities and community service – including three years on the Dean’s list and mentoring middle school students with learning disabilities through Project Eye to Eye. Having excelled as a hurdler in varsity track & field for four years during high school, she often draws on athletic metaphors to describe her determination to succeed despite her learning disability.

“Statistically, the percentage of the population that has been diagnosed with dyslexia is significant,” Sherman says. “However, there is dyslexia and then there is DYSLEXIA. I fall into the latter category. Every day, this crazy brain and I jump over hurdles, some higher than others.”

Now enjoying her freshman year at American University in Washington, DC, Sherman has an eye toward preparing for a career in law and justice. As a dyslexic college student, she continues to use human-narrated audiobooks that accommodated her learning style so well in grade school and high school.

“I frequently come in contact with students who struggle for a variety of reasons with reading,” she says. “I never miss an opportunity to share the part that Learning Ally and audiobooks have contributed to my success as a student. Some people think that listening to a book is cheating. I tell them that the words are still entering your brain, creating pictures, telling a story and so on. The recordings are not a crutch; they are just a different way to get to the same place.”

About the National Achievement Awards

Since 1959, Learning Ally has honored exceptional students who are blind or visually impaired through its privately endowed Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards (SAA) for college seniors and beyond. Hundreds of students apply for these prestigious awards each year and are selected by committees of Learning Ally volunteers, board members, parents, educators, donors and staff. Students are recognized for their academic excellence, leadership, and service to others; each award winner has a long list of honors and accomplishments, and has graduated with a GPA above 3.0, with most near the 4.0 mark; and they have thrived on their education paths thanks in part to their use of accessible educational content and assistive technology provided by Learning Ally. For information about applying for Learning Ally’s National Achievement awards, visit http://NAA.LearningAlly.org/apply.

About Learning Ally

Founded in 1948, Learning Ally helps K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom read and learn differently due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Through its support programs and audiobooks, Learning Ally enables families and teachers to help students thrive and succeed. The organization provides support to parents and students through events, webinars, personal consultations and other tools; and integrated learning management systems and professional development for teachers. In addition, Learning Ally’s collection of more than 80,000 human-narrated audio textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded on mainstream smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. Several thousand volunteers help to produce the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Learning Ally is partially funded by grants from state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, visit http://LearningAlly.org.

Contact: Doug Sprei
Learning Ally PR & Communications
(609) 243-5865