The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is pleased to announce that Payton Harper has been selected as the winner of our 2022 Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism. Payton is a 15-year-old dual enrolled (early college) high school student at Advantage Homeschool Academy and has already excelled in several challenging college classes. He will attend the University of Alabama online as a freshman in 2023 for the college’s online Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering program.
Payton’s winning essay on “Breaking Patterns” was an inspiring account of his experience living with high-functioning autism, including overcoming his challenges in communicating with verbal apraxia, which he was diagnosed with at an early age. By learning to read body language and facial expressions, he was able to interpret his peers’ feelings better and build deeper connections with those around him.
For Payton, breaking the pattern of autism means disrupting the status quo on what people think autism is and what it looks like. Having not fit the “typical” mold for autism, he hopes to disrupt the negative mindset surrounding autism and encourages others to see it in a positive and unique light. Payton’s high school GPA is currently 4.3, and his college GPA is 3.94. Although only 15 years old, he is excited to begin college at the University of Alabama and believes his autism is what helped him get to this point in his life.
Our team congratulates Payton and wishes him the very best in his studies at Alabama!
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., received numerous applications from bright and talented students across the country, and their inspiring essays made selecting a winner this year incredibly difficult. Learn more about our Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism here.