celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

WT grad shines in class

By David Pittman

Jesse Robinson sometimes notices the odd looks on campus.

The West Texas A&M graduate has cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that impedes muscle control.

The disease leaves him with a noticeable limp while walking. His speech is a little slow and slurred.

But don't feel sorry for Robinson.

"My CP didn't affect my cognitive abilities at all, just my muscular," he said.

That shows in his school work.

Robinson graduated from WT last week with honors and a degree in history. He holds a near-perfect grade point average at 3.97.

The Canyon native plans to study to become a pastor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

Robinson's disease made his academic life slightly more difficult.

He's always had to use a laptop to take notes because writing was hard.

"Jesse could never take notes well or one of those tests where you have to bubble things in," father Clay Robinson said.

WT's Office of Student Disability Services has helped him greatly at the school.

Robinson has still learned to play the piano and guitar despite the limitations on his motor skills.

He wanted to play sports as a child but couldn't run to keep up, said his father, a professor of agriculture sciences at WT.

Robinson's parents raised and treated him as if he didn't have cerebral palsy.

"My parents didn't baby me by any means," Robinson said.

Despite attending Canyon High School and having family still living in Canyon, Robinson has lived on campus all four years, becoming an active residence hall adviser.

This year he has gained the envy of his male friends serving as the RA for the all-female Cross Hall.

Clay Robinson reiterated the sentiments of Jesse's younger brother: Jesse is handicapped because if he wasn't no one else would be able to keep up.

Editor's note: Beating the Odds is a series published in the Amarillo Globe-News from May 10-24 that tells the stories of all kinds of students who are graduating despite challenges they've faced. It is part of Celebrate Education, a program designed to bring awareness to the need of educational attainment in the Texas Panhandle.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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