Rosa’s Story

Rosa Cintron, at age 12, Brooklyn, New York

A few years prior, if someone dared ask Rosa to read, even a book as simple as one by Dr. Seuss, there would have been mayhem. In the midst of screaming and pounding fists, Rosa was known to overturn her desk and send books flying across the room.

“I would have tantrums,” explains Rosa. “I would think, ‘Are they slow? Why don’t they understand? I don’t read!! Do they even care?’”

Schoolteachers gave up on Rosa, aiming to manage her tantrums rather than provide any instruction. “They just put me aside,” she says. “In third grade, I was still learning addition and subtraction, instead of multiplication.”