Lipe White Wheat Leapers

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


"S-P-H-E-R-I-C-A-L," I declared. Flashing a grin to the 600-person audience, I glanced at the ink stains dotting my clasped hands. These hands had suffered for months practicing obscure words from the dictionary. One person away from winning the county bee, I felt destined to continue to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. A sharp "Ting!" rang, interrupting my daydream. I heard a judge proclaim, "The correct spelling is S-P-H-E-R-I-C-A-L." The glaring stage lights taunted me, and I watched confusion overtake my parents' faces. I had pronounced the R in "spherical" as an L: "S-P-H-E-L-I-C-A-L." Simmering tears gathered in my eyes. Scurrying off the stage, I crumpled up my participatory ribbon.

Although that spelling bee happened four years ago, it serves to remind me of my uniqueness. I have lived in Southern Asia and on a Mediterranean Isle, resulting in my peculiar accent. This amalgam creates my lisp of the letter R, which has often singled me out from my peers.

In elementary school, a speech pathologist made me see this lisp as a disability.

"Ripe white wheat reapers reap ripe white wheat right," I'd say.

"Again!" she'd relentlessly respond.

With less determination, I'd repeat "Ripe white wheat reapers reap ripe white wheat...

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