Sep 3, 2013
12:51 PM
Education

NASCAR Bound Student at Forman School in Litchfield a Dyslexia Philanthropist, at 17

NASCAR Bound Student at Forman School in Litchfield a Dyslexia Philanthropist, at 17

Contributed photo

David Garbo Jr. in the driver's seat.

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 When he arrived on the campus of Forman School in Litchfield, Conn., David Garbo Jr.’s whole perspective of education did a 180-degree turn.

Diagnosed with dyslexia and struggling with traditional ways of learning, Garbo, a resident of Stonington, Conn., found the innovative ways of comprehending class work at Forman exactly what he needed.

People talk about learning disabilities, but for me I never think of it as a disability, more of a challenge,” said Garbo, who is a junior this fall. “There were myself and maybe two other kids at my former school that were in the same situation, but when I got here everybody was the same. It’s no big deal. I just learn in a different way and it works for me.”

So, inspired by the Forman School and its groundbreaking and acclaimed work with children with dyslexia and other learning differences, Garbo decided to give back, even at the tender age of 17. A budding race star who drives for the Fathead Racing Team in Late Model Stock series, he established a foundation called The David Garbo, Jr. Foundation. He is donating all his winnings this race season, including a $1,650 purse he earned in the high profile Showdown in Richmond, Va., where he traded paint with elite drivers that included Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and teammate David Ragan, all NASCAR drivers.

“I work hard every day to strategize against my dyslexia and if I can help just one other student to get beyond the frustration of a reading disability I will feel like I’m helping out,” he said.

His foundation will offer another athletically gifted student with dyslexia the opportunity to build his or her skills in athletics and in the classroom. Garbo, an honors student, had raised more than $6,000 as of late summer and his goal is to provide a full scholarship to The Forman School.

Garbo, who began racing as an 8-year-old taking the turns at a junior track at Thompson Speedway in Thompson, Conn., is making some serious headway in 2013 toward his lofty goal of reaching NASCAR’s Nationwide and eventually Sprint Cup Series, the highest level of stock car racing.

He had three top-five finishes, including a first, second and fifth; was invited to participate in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, finishing sixth, the best for a rookie driver at the race, and was Rookie of the Race in two of three UARA Stars races he entered.

In 2012, he raced against cars and drivers considered to be formidable competitors. He traveled to Winter Heat road course events at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and was able to clinch the championship. Still competing as a Young Lion, Garbo conquered the series, racing in sun, rain and cold to demonstrate his ability to acclimate to weather and challenging racetrack conditions. Additionally, it was the first time he had competed at a non-oval, road-course track in a series and he embraced the experience.

In addition, last year he was the champion of the Legends Semi-Pro division in his first time in the series. He almost swept through the championship at the Winter Nationals at Auburndale Speedway in Winter Haven, Fla., with four wins, netting him the championship and a track record for the most wins during the annual event.

NASCAR Bound Student at Forman School in Litchfield a Dyslexia Philanthropist, at 17

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