Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) graduate Courtney Delk has received the Manning Award for Academic Success for 2013.
Delk, a graduate of WJU's physical therapy program, was recognized with the award for her hard work and resolve. The award is presented to a Wheeling Jesuit graduate who has demonstrated academic success while conquering the challenges of a learning disability and is given in the name of Shawn Manning '10. Manning overcame the obstacles of his learning disability through personal motivation, determination, hard work, and a desire to fulfill his dream of a university education.
Delk was diagnosed with a learning disability in the first grade. Delk said, little did she know back then that her life's journey would bring her to Wheeling Jesuit University where she would be amazed at how much she would accomplish.
“Due to the teasing I received during my childhood, I tend not to open up to people about my learning disability,” Delk said. “I was ashamed and thought I would become a constant burden to my parents. However, the time I spent at Wheeling Jesuit University completely changed my view. The physical therapy professors and the director of disability services treated me with respect. They wanted to help me succeed on my own terms, instead of looking down on me like some others have in the past. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Kathy Tagg, director of Disability Services, and the teaching staff of the Physical Therapy Department.”
During elementary school, Delk was placed into small classrooms of children who had learning disorders. “This separation led to many years of teasing by my classmates who called me 'stupid' and 'slow.' My teachers caused me further embarrassment when they gave me only two answers to choose from on my tests instead of four answers like everyone else received. I decided to hand these modified tests back to my teachers and I asked to take 'regular' tests, ” she recalled.
For a portion of grade school, Delk was placed in a special education classroom. “Instead of coloring, I would listen to the teachers and write down all the examples that they wrote on the board,” Delk added. “That is how I taught myself long division and other concepts that the teachers thought were too advanced for me. My teachers were constantly amazed by my ability to learn material just by watching and listening in the classroom. And when I was re-tested, I actually advanced grade levels in my subjects every year.”
When Courtney entered middle school, she took on a new attitude. “When people told me I could not do something, I would use all my power and strive to prove them wrong and succeed in accomplishing what they thought I could not do. So, I thank each and every person in my past who said 'no' to me. They have helped me to become the person I am today.”
Photo Caption: Wheeling Jesuit graduate Shawn Manning '10 presents the Manning Award for Academic Success to Courtney Delk '13, a graduate of WJU's physical therapy program.