John's Open Road


    Being You


    Lake Elsinore, CA


Ice Sculptor / Author
High School Dropout to Harvard

“Don’t live somebody else’s life—take your unique talents and go live your own life.”


Art Food


Individualism Success Struggle Failure Support & Encouragement Acceptance Choices Courage Focus Societal Pressures


Learning and Being Challenged


accepting yourself, ADHD, art, challenges, chef, community college, cooking, creativity, dyslexia, education, failure, food, learning disability, life, sculpting, struggle, success, successful, talent, travel


  • Growing up, he always felt like he was smart, but his grades were terrible; he failed the first grade, and started feeling like he wasn’t as good as the other kids.
  • After years of constantly feeling beaten down by the school system, he gave up and stop caring, eventually dropped out of high school.
  • Before he dropped out, he signed up for a cooking class, and his teacher recommended him for a kitchen job at a local hotel.
  • While there, he saw an ice sculptor carving a block of ice and was completely mesmerized; the sculptor took John under his wing and started teaching him the art.
  • His yet-undiagnosed dyslexia strengthened his three-dimensional thinking skills, so ice carving came naturally, felt like he’d hit a “sweet spot.”
  • Before long, his ice sculptures were in high demand...and he was only sixteen years old; he realized he could make a living doing the thing that he loved.
  • Eventually, he went back to school and earned degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard University.
  • Now, his passion is public speaking and educating others about how to foster the strengths that come with learning disorders.

Send us your feedback

(all fields are required)