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Alumni Profile: Steven Edwards

Steven Edwards was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in the sixth grade. His parents enrolled him in Hill Learning Center for eighth grade, and he continued through high school. Before Hill, Steven describes himself as “an average student. Education didn’t capture my interest.” He struggled to pay attention in class, but the then 3:1 student/teacher ratio made focusing much easier. “Hill was groundbreaking. I thrived there.”

Following graduation from Hill and Durham Academy, Steven attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he excelled as a runner. When asked how Hill helped him after high school, Steven says, “I was prepared for college. With the tools I learned from Hill, I was able to succeed.” He describes his freshman year as difficult, a “sink or swim” situation, but by his senior year, he had mastered the techniques that brought him success. He continues, “I loved to learn, FINALLY! I got straight A’s my senior year. I had the passion!”

After working in Chapel Hill, Steven moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2005. He married Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic marathon runner, and managed her career until her recent retirement. He is a professional track and field agent, consultant for Nike and the head cross-country coach at Lake Oswego High School in Oswego, Oregon, where he and his family reside.

Steven describes his experiences at Hill by saying, “I feel like the greatest thing the Hill Center did was hammer home the fundamentals to me. They broke it down and helped me become a stronger student in English, math and Spanish.” He attributes much of his success to his Hill teachers. “They were the first teachers that ever understood me.”

In thinking of current and future Hill Learning Center students, Steven offers these words, “Don’t ever be embarrassed by your ADHD. Own it. That’s what I found out in college. I was trying to fit in, and my grades were suffering. As soon as I owned it, I realized I was different, had to study differently, some things took longer to learn, some took less time. I just had to own being me.” As he shares this advice, Steven quotes Dr. Suess: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

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