High School Success Tips-A Teen’s Perspective on Overcoming Obstacles

AchieveIT360 Performance Expert Interview with Donte Dre Winrow

Donte Dre Winrow talks about the obstacles he had to overcome to graduate from high school, what he is doing now, and his vision for the future.



Donte’s Inferno is Still Burning

Donte’s article from The Teen Performance Magazine, 2009

I want you to understand that the TEEN TRUTH LIVE: BULLY presentation changed my life and the way I look at my disorder. The disorder I have is called Tourettes Syndrome and it’s not very common. The disorder forces me to have physical and vocal tics that often can’t control.

I realized I had this disorder when I was in 6th grade and it made that year the worst year of my life! It was so hard for me because I was always so embarrassed. I still remember all the names of the people that made fun of me and tried to copy my Tourettes. At school I heard a lot of jokes and rumors about me. One of the tics I use to have because of my Tourettes was a twitch where and hit my nose. I heard a joke about my tic that was spread around the whole school. They said I would twitch because I was sniffing crack and that bothered me a lot.

Imagine living 8 years of your life having fewer friends then you’re supposed to have just because you have a disorder you can’t control. I always struggled with my Tourettes and the way people treated because of it. I also struggled with treating people nicely because I felt they were always mean to me.

On Thursday October 29, I heard we had an assembly at my school. They said it was going to be about life and teenagers. I immediately thought it was going to be a bunch of bull and a waste of my time. Because I was thinking these thoughts I started talking through the beginning of the presentation.

I wasn’t loud until my Tourettes started acting up. My Tourettes starts going off when there’s increased activity or excitement in my brain. I was talking and my tics from my Tourettes were causing me to make strange sounds.

Because of the strange noises JC, the speaker, got on me about talking aloud and told me to be aware of the impact I was having on the rest of the group. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. After that, we watched TEEN TRUTH BULLY and it literally made me think in a way I never thought about before.

My mind went into shock, my whole mind just blanked. After the film I was glued to what JC had to say. I loved the presentation and in the end it actually made me realize that I had to apologize for disrupting the presentation.

I told JC about my disorder, and he realized that it wasn’t my fault. He told me that we often times don’t realize what issues a person is dealing with because we never ask and the impact that we have could hurt.

That day we both learned a TRUTH about each other and we both realized we made judgments that were false.

The TEEN TRUTH LIVE presentation was the best presentation I have ever seen. It made me realize that it is okay to be different. If I weren’t different, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

If you’re not the same as everyone else, that doesn’t mean your stupid or a retard. Get over the bad comments and rumors spread about you because you’re a different person. Be a happier person, be yourself. To get over your obstacles you need to forget all the bad. Try to go on with your life, and stop copying the people that are not going to make a difference. I believe anyone can make a difference. You just have to believe in yourself and try!

My advice to you if you are afraid of being accepted for who you are- 1. Accept yourself for who you really are. If you don’t accept yourself, no one else will. 2. Embrace your differences as strengths. Why would want to be the same as someone else when there is only one unique person like YOU in the world! 3. Do not judge others as you probably don’t have the whole story about who they are. Get to know people; especially the ones who you notice are sitting at the sidelines, not involved. Reach out to others and make a difference every day. 4. Realize that everyone feels insecure at times in their life. You must develop your confidence to step up and let others get to know the power of YOU!

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