"One of the best decisions I had ever made"
- Joseph Lugo
The Perecman Firm would like to congratulate Peter Despres for winning the 2015 Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism!
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. is pleased to announce that the winner of our 2015 Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism is Peter Despres. It was incredibly difficult to decide on a winner amongst the 118 submissions this year. We believe that, after reading his essay, Peter embodies the spirit of the Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism.
“From a young age, it was obvious that something about me wasn’t quite ‘right’,” wrote Peter. “I couldn’t read facial expressions, I couldn’t comprehend sarcasm, and anything from talking about solely my interests in an evolving group conversation to having no understanding of what was appropriate in a given situation was a challenge that plagued my existence.”
It was around the 1st grade that Peter was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. What at first was difficult and often depressing later evolved into a determination to not just survive, but triumph.
“With determination and willpower…I had conquered the challenges that had crippled my life and come out stronger, wiser, and more willing to live than ever before,” he explained.
Peter went on to help other youths who had been diagnosed with Asperger’s, taking compassion on them because he remembered to vividly what it had been like for him when he was younger.
Peter concluded his essay with powerful words we can all live by: “Why would you ever want to settle for ‘normal’ when you can be extraordinary.” Congratulations Peter!
The Perecman Firm started the Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism so that the memory of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic boy who wandered away from school and was never seen alive again, could live on. The Perecman Firm represents the family of Avonte, and fights for justice and change so that no family has to suffer the same way Avonte’s did. Learn more about Avonte’s story and autism.