JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Joshua Yarbrough tells every kid who might feel discouraged, "Don't let anybody downsize you."
Joshua knows struggle. He was determined to get a diploma from Douglas Anderson, even though it took him five years.
But now, despite his dyslexia, he will walk the stage at graduation and then head off to New York.
Joshua auditioned for the Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary program and earned a scholarship and an opportunity to grow his dream.
His dream? He wants to run a Christian dance company to spread messages of hope and faith. Josh already works with troubled youth at the Duval Detention Center.
His grandmother immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador. At age 12, Josh took a janitorial job to earn money mopping floors and cleaning toilets to pay for dance classes.
His mom says even now Josh is so passionate, he'll be up at 2 a.m. moving around the furniture and trying out new dance moves he's choreographed.
Josh's ESE teacher, Janet Dygan, says his story proves that students with "disabilities" have remarkably strong talents in other areas. She says Josh is unlike any other 5th year senior she's had. It all has to do with his "magic."
Josh was named a National Young Arts finalist in dance by the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts. In February, he got to attend master classes with world-renowned performers.
He credits Douglas Anderson for helping him get beyond his learning challenges and polish his dancing skills.
His mom says she's always told him that it doesn't matter what people might say because he's "more in Christ Jesus."
First Coast News