School was a struggle for John D. Rodrigues. He knew he was smart, but teachers and classmates didn’t believe him. All they saw was a kid who wore freakish orthopedic shoes, couldn’t sit still in class, and struggled miserably with reading. At age sixteen, John had had enough. He dropped out, certain he’d never return to school.
Thanks to a chance encounter, John discovered ice sculpting. Here, finally, was something the young man was good at, and he took to it passionately. His talent for releasing beauty from massive blocks of ice led to jobs working in famous hotels and on cruise ships. He was happy, but his failure to graduate tugged at the back of his mind.
The failure, as it turned out, wasn’t John’s. It was the fault of the school system that had never diagnosed his dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Armed with strategies that played to his strengths, John passed remedial classes in community college and then went on to study at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley.