Three men who overcame their learning disabilities to excell in their careers received awards from the Lab School of Washington (4759 Reservoir Rd. NW) at its 28th annual gala last week. The Lab School is a local and national pioneer in teaching young people who have learning disabilities and/or ADH.
“The Lab School does an extraordinary job of educating students with learning disabilities, and each year our Gala awardees serve as role models showing our students that they too can make a difference in the world,” said Lab School head Katherine Schantz in a press release.
This year's 800-person event at the National Building Museum was co-chaired by Lab parents Sheila and David Feinberg of Bethesda, Md.
The awardees spent the day in classrooms, speaking with children with learning disabilities like their own.
"It is such an invaluable experience for our students to meet with, and learn from, these outstanding individuals who have channeled their learning challenges and built extraordinary lives,” said Schantz in a press release.
According to a press release, the 2012 Gala awardees were: Peter Fisher, senior managing director of BlackRock; Ben Foss, founder and president of Headstrong Nation; and Willard Wigan, a renowned "micro-sculptor" whose tiny works fit in the eye of a needle.
In addition to the three awardees, Brandon Estrin, Lab School class of 1996, was honored for his accomplishments as the alumni honoree.
The Lab School provided short biographies on the gala awardess in a press release:
- Peter R. Fisher, Senior Managing Director of BlackRock, one of the nation's largest global asset management firms, where he is head of the fixed income portfolio management group. Before BlackRock, Fisher served as the Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Domestic Finance and as the Executive Vice President at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he was Manager of the System Open Market Account.
- Ben Foss, founder and president of Headstrong Nation, a national non-profit dedicated to creating a community of strong, vocal people with learning disabilities and ADHD. Foss, who is dyslexic, previously served as Director of Access Technology at Intel Corporation. There he invented the Intel Reader, a handheld device that takes a photo of text and reads it aloud to users, and other technology for people with disabilities. More about Foss and his work is available in the documentary, Headstrong: Inside the Hidden World of Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder.
- Willard Wigan, an internationally acclaimed micro-sculptor who creates detailed sculptures in the eye of a needle or on the end of an eyelash. Suffering from dyslexia and learning difficulties, Wigan struggled at school, finding solace in creating art of such minute proportions that his works must be viewed through a microscope. Wigan discussed these issues at a TED Talk in 2009 (http://www.ted.com/talks/willard_wigan_hold_your_breath_for_micro_sculpture.html). Images of his work are available at www.willard-wigan.com.