Western student embraces learning disability in order to graduate

As a student at Western Technical College, 2016 graduate Caitlin Roney had a full plate.

“It’s constant, nonstop. Sometimes it’s hard to like find sleep,” Roney said.

On top of going to school full time for culinary management, she worked full time and was president of the foods club on campus.

All her hard work paid off Saturday when she heard her name called at graduation.

“Just to know that I am graduating with a degree, it means a lot to me,” Roney said.

Just to add more to her plate, she also has a learning disability.

“I’m dyslexic so it was not easy. It was all very, very hard, very challenging,” she said.

Dyslexia is a learning disorder described by a difficulty reading, but Roney didn’t let that stop her from being a successful student.

“Just the past two years I started to embrace it and realize that it’s not necessarily a disability as far as it’s a challenge and I love challenges,” Roney said.

She said her support system is what really got her to view her severe dyslexia as a challenge to overcome and not a disability.

“It’s almost like a recipe, you have to tweak it every now and then to figure out what works and what doesn’t and once you get the final product it tastes amazing,” Roney said.

Despite never having a lot of free time, sleep and her dyslexia, Roney still managed to keep up a high GPA.

A motto of hers is a good life lesson for everyone: “If a recipe looks really complicated, don’t be scared of it, break it down ingredient by ingredient, step by step, and you’ll reach your goal.”

Roney already has a job in her field of culinary management. She works full-time at Big Boar in downtown La Crosse.