RIVER DELL REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE HONORED AS 2005 NATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER BY RECORDING FOR THE BLIND & DYSLEXIC®
Oradell, NJ, resident is recognized at national nonprofit’s awards celebration in Washington, DC
February 10, 2006 (Washington, DC) – Philip Wyks’ struggle with dyslexia and dysgraphia was so severe, he recalls getting “…so mad at my homework that I would throw my pillow down and hit it with a hammer.” Despite those obstacles, the Oradell, NJ, teenager persevered and graduated high school with a 90 grade average. For that, and his extraordinary scholarship, leadership, enterprise and service to others, Wyks was honored by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D®) as one of three top winners of the 2005 Marion Huber Learning Through Listening® (LTL®)awards. RFB&D, a nonprofit organization, is the nation’s educational library of recorded textbooks for students with visual impairment, dyslexia or other physical disabilities that make reading standard textbooks difficult or impossible.
Wyks told the gathering in Washington, DC, that RFB&D has been instrumental in his educational success. “It is such a simple concept – reading out loud, but for people like me who need it, RFB&D becomes very powerful. We can not only survive, but stay competitive and succeed thanks to RFB&D.”
Diagnosed with dyslexia in the second grade, Wyks had difficulty taking notes and paying attention in class. “Everyone around me was doing better than me,” he said. “I was sometimes made fun of by the other kids because I couldn’t read some of the words in our books.” After being taught about the school newspaper in his high school journalism class, Wyks went home and told his mother that he could write anything he wanted, but that obesity wasn’t allowed. Confused, his mother looked at his paper and replied, “Philip, the word is obscenity.”
According to Wyks, his life turned around after using RFB&D audiobooks to help him comprehend novels in English class. Comparing dyslexia to running a cross country race at 200 pounds rather than his top shape of 140 pounds, Wyks, an avid runner, states that “RFB&D takes off the extra 60 pounds.” Wyks is confident that RFB&D will remain at his side as he attends American University in Washington, DC, to study business, sociology and criminal justice in preparation for a career with the federal government.
RFB&D’s National Achievement Awards (NAA) include the Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards (SAA) for college seniors who are blind or visually impaired and the Marion Huber Learning Through Listening (LTL) awards for high school seniors with learning disabilities. In all, RFB&D bestows more than $50,000 in awards to deserving students each year. Some of this year’s winners are scheduled to meet with first lady Laura Bush at the White House later this month.
“RFB&D’s National Achievement Awards recognize the accomplishments of students who are outstanding role models, not only for people with disabilities, but for all of us who endeavor to reach our full potential as students and as citizens,” said John Kelly, RFB&D President & CEO.
RFB&D serves more than 141,000 students from kindergarten through graduate school and beyond, including 7,794 in New Jersey and 10,343 in New York, with its one-of-a-kind collection of more than 109,000 educational titles on CD or four-track cassette. RFB&D's AudioPlus® digitally recorded textbooks on CD provide unprecedented navigation, ease of use and proven effectiveness as learning tools for students with print disabilities. Students rely on RFB&D’s unique accommodation to access the printed page and to achieve educational success. All of RFB&D’s accessible titles are recorded by volunteers working in 29 recording studios nationwide, including Princeton, NJ, and Manhattan.
For information on RFB&D, volunteering or making a donation, call the New Jersey Unit at 609-750-1830, the New York Unit at 212-557-5720, or visit RFB&D’s accessible website at http://www.rfbd.org.
EDITORS NOTE: Interview opportunities are available by calling Mark Zustovich at 609-520-7993, or after hours at 609-610-4508.
Pictured, left to right: John Kelly, RFB&D President & CEO, Phillip Wyks, Jim Golubieski, RFB&D National Board