John's Open Road
You're Just As Smart (1:05)
It's Who I Am (0:52)
Applying to Harvard (1:08)
Good Things Happen (0:22)
Tipping Point (1:39)
Lake Elsinore, CA
Ice Sculptor / Author
High School Dropout to Harvard
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.