LeDerick Horne

LeDerick Horne, an acclaimed spoken-word poet and disabilities advocated, delivered the keynote lunch address at The Mill on Monday for the Innovative Institute hosted by the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit and the Mississippi Department of Education.

LeDerick Horne had a normal kindergarten experience as he recalled, playing with blocks and doing simple classroom activities.

But he began to struggle the next year and had to repeat the first grade. By third grade, Horne was labeled “neurologically impaired.”

Things many take for granted, such as reading simple sentences, stirred painful anxiety in Horne. When being called out to read in class, he viewed the experience as a public embarrassment, often seeking sanctuary in his school’s bathroom and nurse’s office.

“Every syllable was painful,” he recalled.

He didn’t let it define him, though.

Horne — who has a learning disability, but has forged a successful career as a poet, author and advocate for those with learning disabilities — served as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual Innovative Institute hosted at The Mill by the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit and the Mississippi Department of Education.

The Innovative Institute — which is designed for all educators and leaders who are involved or interested in innovative school strategies — will continue today at The Mill.

For more on Horne and his keynote address, read Tuesday's Starkville Daily News.

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