17-year-old Matthew Myslenki with cerebral palsy has defied all odds against his abilities. He graduated from Woodstock Academy as the top of his class and also got an early acceptance into Harvard University,
Michael Myslenki and his twin sister, Magdalena Myslenki are high school seniors at Woodstock Academy, Woodstock Connecticut in the United States. Michael graduated as the top of his class.
Matthew was born with Cerebral palsy unlike his twin sister Magdalena who has no disability. His Cerebral palsy mainly affects his gait and muscle tone. He explained that the disorder which is the most common motor disability among children does not affect him mentally.
”I’m still able to do a lot of things, but some things might take me eight times longer,” he said.
Attending Harvard university has been Matthew’s goal since he was 6yearsold. As a child, he was a frequent patient at Boston Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric program of Harvard Medical School.
“I’ve always looked up to my doctors at the hospital. They’re amazing people, when I found out they were associated with Harvard, I wanted to be a part of that,” said Matthew.
Despite knowing that the path to getting to Harvard wasn’t an easy one, Matthew didn’t allow his health challenge stop him from working towards it.
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On the day he was to check his application status, Matthew said he was so nervous and couldn’t eat lunch or dinner the day. When the status updated, Matthew together with his twin sister couldn’t contain their joy.
“I was in shock at first. I didn’t expect it, I was overjoyed,” Matthew said.
Matthew’s twin sister, Magdalene said she is so proud of her brother’s achievement as she has always looked up to him as the most intelligent of them both.
”It was pure joy; I just had a huge sense of pride. Even though I’m older by 45 minute I’ve always looked up to Matthew ,” she said.
Once Matthew received his acceptance, Magdalena sent the video of their reactions to staff at their high school ,Woodstock Academy, who then shared it on social media. The video went viral and has been viewed on TikTok more than 828,000 times.
He said he did not expect news of his acceptance to spread around the world but at the same time he’s glad it went viral.
“I do feel good that people are seeing it,” Matthew told The Post. He hopes his acceptance will reinforce to others that
“if you just keep trying and working at it, you will eventually achieve what you desire,’’ he added.
The associate head of school at the Woodstock Academy, Holly Singleton described Mathew as a boy with a determined mind and that she’s glad that people around the world can hear his story.
“It is so touching that so many people are hearing about and sharing his story, we have always known that his stalwart determination would allow him to achieve his dreams, Harvard is just the first of many significant accomplishments in his life, ’’ Singleton said
Sara Dziedzic, Matthew’s international relations teacher, said Matthew’s acceptance brought tears to her eyes adding that he has always been amazing.
“He is unstoppable when he wants to achieve any goals. Matthew tackles all challenges with focus and has a strong desire to be successful. He is in the top five percent of students in his class,’’Dziedzic said.
Matthew is involved in student government as well as various extracurricular activities, including the medical club and Model U.N. He said his motivation has been his hope of being accepted to Harvard one day.
“This is what I’ve been working towards, I want to help people,” he said.
Matthew said he will major in biology and chemistry at Harvard.“I looked up to my doctors when I was younger, and I want to create that for other patients,” he said.
Until then, Matthew said, he hopes his story will inspire others to go after their goals, and push past whatsoever obstacles that comes their way.
“No matter what you face in life, you can overcome anything,” he said.