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Sequoya Student Wins Junior Achievement Award

Sky Burke, 12, recognized for long-time advocacy of students with special needs.

A sixth-grader at Sequoya Middle School has recently been honored with a Junior Achievement Award through Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, a nonprofit group that advocates for students with special needs.

Through its message of self-advocacy, the organization recognized Sky Burke, a 12-year old student at Sequoya for her tireless effort to advocate for her educational success.

The award reads, in part:

"Sky Burke discovered very early the importance of advocating for herself. Struggling with dyslexia and dysgraphia, she created and presented a PowerPoint at her 3rd-grade IEP meeting, and has never looked back–advocating successfully to use an iPad (the first in her school district), and presenting for several Long Island organizations, including a keynote address before an audience of 450 people at a regional self-advocacy conference. For four years, she received the Principal’s Award at her elementary school for her hard work and dedication to her education, and now, at 12, is a 6th-grader at the Sequoya Middle School in Holtsville..."

Burke maintains a website called "The Sky is Limitless," where she regularly posts videos, photos and informative links for other students with disabilities.

"The purpose of my website is to share my message: 'You are never to big or small to make a difference in your education,' Burke writes on her home page.

Recently she delivered the keynote speech at the New York State Self-Advocacy Conference. Click on the embedded YouTube clip to watch her speech.

Burke's Junior Achievement Award will be presented to her at the organization's annual benefit on April 26 at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwhich, Conn.

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