Desmond Vinson

Hayward Youth Hall of Fame Award Recipient for Heroism

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Desmond has had many obstacles in life growing up with special needs; however he never let that break his confidence or enthusiasm to do the things he liked in life. He has been in Hayward Unified School District his entire life and has made leaps and bounds of growth. Educators and doctors stated there would be things he would not be able to overcome or do in life, but he has proved so many people wrong. He has inspired his mainstream peers in school by always attending events and activities most special need students would not have courage to do—like participate in football at Ochoa Middle School; participate in talent shows; be in a video at Tennyson High School, created by other high school students, in which he was the main star; attend all dances at his school; donate his time to the community by helping pack food boxes for the holidays. He was the first special needs youth to participate in the College Bound Program here in Hayward. He also has been very active each year with the Special Olympics by being a player on the Hayward Hurricanes Team. He is also attending college at Chabot while also being a student at the Hayward Adult School. I could not be more proud of my son.

He graduated from Tennyson High School with honors and was a model student. He is so well liked among his peers and in the community that wherever we go someone recognizes him—youth and adults always make it a point to say hello. He has never let his disability stop him from wanting more in life. He is very independent and has always wanted to go to college. His ultimate desire is to have job one day and live on his own and get married. He is such a great example of what is possible no matter what obstacle you live with-- believe and don't see yourself any different than others because you matter too. As a parent he has always taught me to push the envelope for him. He has always been a gentleman and kind hearted with others and I believe he deserves recognition of his courage. He has paved the road by participating or enrolling in after-school programs at Matt Jimenez and events that were not designed for special need youth and now those areas created those opportunities because of him. He should be honored for his courage to have this confidence no matter how other kids treated him.