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Focus Notes

Through the numerous opportunities she’s had to travel the world, Victoria Sichel has learned invaluable problem-solving skills and life lessons she can take anywhere. For example, when she and her family experienced a hiccup in their travel plans in Northern Spain, she took the interruption as an opportunity to learn to speak Spanish with the appropriate accent! She says, “Travel and transportation can teach you so much. Your mindset and outlook on a situation can change the whole thing, and if everything goes well then you won’t have a story to tell!”

Michael Upshur has been living with ADHD since he was four years old. He recognizes his challenges – such as being distracted by friends, forgetting steps in complicated equations and at times finding it difficult to concentrate during a lecture. However, Michael has realized that a big part of living with ADHD is learning how to adapt so he can get the most out of his education. He says, “I must learn that I have to advocate for myself when I don’t understand a topic. I will always be a smart kid no matter what, and I will always do my best.”

Mia Walker loves ballet; however, she has experienced challenges with her own physical limitations. For example, Mia’s flat feet make it very difficult to achieve a fully pointed foot. Additionally, she suffers from cracking and limited mobility in her hips. This can make it challenging to achieve perfect form in her développés. However, she has no plans to quit. She says, “Sometimes I’m surprised at how long I’ve stuck with ballet, but I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, and I will continue improving in spite of my physical limitations.”

According to Sammy Sokoloff, there is no better experience than fishing. Whether it’s for a good chat and laugh with family or learning an important lesson, he believes that fishing has brought him a number of lifelong memories. Specifically, he remembers when he was on the verge of catching a huge fish, but ended up with just the head! He says that experience compounded the lesson, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Sammy hopes everyone gives fishing a try, saying, “Fishing has taught me important lessons and led to crazy adventures filled with great memories.”

Etai Blitz believes that people should be encouraged to be themselves - whoever they are! He has often been accused of being reserved when he’s with his family, but boisterous with his friends. He doesn’t see a problem with this, as he knows that people are complex and need to change to adapt to a number of different situations. He says, “There is so much pressure on us to be and behave in a particular way and it is very important that we feel comfortable in our own skin. There aren’t any versions of us, just a single version that is uniquely us.”