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Health problems, learning disabilities made this Hemet teen ‘stronger’

Alexandria “Ali” Moorman was 8 years old when she made a life-changing decision.
After she and her family were told by a pediatric neurologist that she would never perform at grade level, she set out to prove her doctors wrong.
Now a senior at Hamilton High School in Anza, Moorman excels at her grade level and is ranked ninth in her graduating class of 62.
Moorman has neurofibromatosis, which can cause learning and thinking difficulties, plus dyslexia, seizures and Irlen Syndrome, a visual processing disorder that causes letters to move when she tries to read.
“I have spent years creating coping mechanisms to deal with this so that I can read,” said Moorman, 17. “One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is just how hard I am required to work to reach not only the academic standard but beyond the academic standard and I realized that I must approach everything that I do with the idea that I cannot fail.”
Ali Moorman, has overcame neurofibromatosis and learning disabilities to be ranked among the top 10 seniors at Hamilton High School in Anza. (Courtesy of Ali Moorman)
Her petit mal, or absence, seizures come without warning and cause her to “zone out” for several seconds.
“I used to constantly worry about a seizure happening at an inappropriate moment, however, now they are controlled with medication and I have not had a seizure for a year but even if I was having them frequently, I knew that my life couldn’t be controlled by the possibility of having one,” Moorman said.
Being the youngest of six children, Moorman said her siblings have always been protective.
“They used to have a tendency to try and do things for me and it wasn’t until I insisted to do things for myself that they just helped me with what I needed,” she said.
When others told Moorman to expect less of herself, she produced more.
She took part in track and field as a discus and shot-put thrower all four years of high school. Her farthest discus throw is 91 feet, one inch, and her farthest throw for the shot put is 26 feet, five inches.
She has been a member of the Color Guard for two years, has served twice as FFA president and is the Associated Student Body president. Moorman has won many speech contests while participating in the FFA program and the Lion’s Student Youth Speech Program.
“There have been many silver linings to the trials and tribulations of my life,” Moorman said. “One of the biggest is meeting all of the wonderful people that I have had the opportunity to meet in my short lifetime.”
The feeling is mutual among Hamilton High staff members who have interacted with Moorman. Jane Recht has taught her agriculture and science all four years, which included a veterinary science class, plant and soil science and two years of floriculture.
“Ali, from the start, was a special young lady in her maturity level and leadership,” Recht said. “NF has made her stronger in many ways. She has found the strength to fight through the pain, discomfort and disabilities and still keep going.”
Instructional aide and athletic director’s assistant Olga Graves has also known Moorman all through high school.
“Her freshman year opened her eyes to a whole new world as she had been homeschooled,” Graves said. “She is a very intelligent young lady, yet she did not realize it. She was shy and hardly spoke when I first met her. Yet, we worked through it to the point that other students always wanted her to read in class because she did it so well.”
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Stephen Crawford, who teaches math and science and facilitates the school’s Workability program, has worked with Moorman the past four years and recently nominated her as the school’s February recipient of the Hemet/San Jacinto Student of the Month award.
“She does have multiple learning disabilities but through hard work and the help of all her teachers and occupational therapist, she flourished,” Crawford said. “She has had to work twice as hard as her peers to just keep up but now she is among the top of her class.”
Name: Alexandria “Ali” Moorman
Age: 17
Residence: Hemet
Education: Senior at Hamilton High School in Anza
Notable: She has not let health difficulties, such as neurofibromatosis, stand in her way of success and is ranked in the top 10 of her senior class.

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