Michael Kush could have taken an easier path to his diploma. The East Gaston High School senior, who suffers from a rare vision condition, could have chosen easier classes and taken advantage of a range of learning accommodations to compensate for his disability.
Instead, Kush has taken progressively more difficult classes through the years while turning down more of the accommodations available to him. “I wanted to challenge myself,” he explained. “Despite my disability, I can still perform somewhat equal to the regular vision person.”
School counselor Yeva Hall-Williamson has watched and encouraged Kush as he pushed himself to improve and succeed. “He’s just worked really hard; much harder than other students,” she said. “In his last year, he added three AP classes to his schedule. So many seniors who have things so much easier try to go out their senior year as easy as possible, but not Michael.”
Kush is working hard because he knows where he wants to be. His goal is to become a meteorologist, and he knew that AP Statistics, AP Chemistry and AP Calculus would help him get there. “I was determined,” he said.
He chose to read and take the AP tests on his own, for instance, rather than have someone read the test and bubble in the answers for him. “Each year, he just tried to be a little bit more independent,” Hall-Williamson said. “He was very courageous.”
Kush’s hard work has paid off. He’ll be graduating in the top 15 percent of the class and is on his way to to UNC-Charlotte this fall.