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Alumnus Ironman teaches a lesson about persistence

March 10, 2008

Michael Jekogian ’94, the special education department chair at Westminster High, is training for the Lake Placid Ironman in July. His determination, exhibited through long hours running, biking and swimming, is a lesson to students.

“I want to prove that I can,” he says. “I want to prove that there’s nothing that can’t be overcome with a little persistence.”

Jekogian suffers from dyslexia and a processing disability. When he reads, letters appear to flip and change order. He struggled through school, and chose McDaniel for its close-knit community and for the relationships forged between students and professors.

“I worked with the professors very closely,” he says. “I explained my situation and they were very willing to help.”

At Westminster High, Jekogian works with students on a broad spectrum of learning differences from mild to severe. He holds himself up as an example.

“I can truthfully say that I know where you’re coming from. I’ve been there. And I say there’s no reason you can’t get past it, can’t go to college, and can’t do what you want.”

Jekogian, who has completed one triathlon and too many marathons to count, trains for 20 hours each week. He is hoping to qualify for the world championships, by completing the 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run within 10 hours.

As in education, so in athletics. Jekogian says he’s up for the challenge.

“It’s not an option to give up. I stick with it until it’s done.”

Pictured : Jekogian with his son at the finish line.