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For Natalie Savarese ‘16, learning has been a journey of self-acceptance. She came to MMFS as a second grader in the Obadiah Room, and recalls wondering, “Why can’t I do math like everyone else? Why do I keep getting in trouble in class?” By the time she got to the upper school, she found ways to express herself and she deepened her understanding of what it means to be a person with a learning disability, lessons she attributes largely to time spent with Language Therapist Tricia Blumenfeld.
After graduation, Natalie attended the CUNY Start program at LaGuardia Community College to support her transition to college. After completing the program, she moved to Australia to work as an au pair. It was there that she discovered her passion—wildlife conservation. “Everywhere we drove, there were clouds of smoke blocking out the sun. I could smell the fumes and see ash coming from the sky. I really woke up to environmental issues.”
Now that she has discovered her passion, Natalie feels ready to explore higher education. She is extremely grateful for her MMFS education because it taught her to embrace her learning disability. “MMFS made me feel comfortable and made me appreciate myself. I want to thank all the teachers who taught me. This is how I became who I am.”
Natalie’s advice for MMFS students is to take time to discover their passions. “Having a learning disability doesn’t mean you’re any less smart. You just learn in your own time.”