Quartez Harris:
One Man’s Journey from Learning Disability to College Graduate

Quartez harris

Learning disability.
Different.
Low expectations.

These were all words used to describe Quartez Harris as a young elementary student. But as an award-winning spoken word artist, Quartez has turned those words into poetry, has countered those words with resiliency and has defied those words and the odds.

Growing up in Springfield, Ohio, Quartez was given an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) because it was determined that he had written expression and reading comprehension disabilities. Told that he would never be able to function on his own, Quartez began to believe the words spoken about him, that he would never achieve any success, that he was limited in all that he could and would do.

It was the simple question of “Why not?” that led him to doubt all that he had been told – and believed – about himself. He learned to tap into his own unique style of learning and began making his own definition of who he was, his own way through the world. Teachers that he met gave him confidence, which, in turn, made him confident. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 19% of students with learning disabilities will drop out of high school, but Quartez went on to graduate from high school and attend The Ohio State University. Knowing that he wanted to somehow help people, Quartez graduated with a bachelor’s in Social Work, and he currently works at Franklin County Children Services.

Quartez’s is a journey of many steps. And along the way, he learned it’s okay to be different. That it takes a lot of courage to inspire someone. And if you have a story, share it.


Quartez Harris: One Man’s Journey from Learning Disability to College Graduate was presented on February 4, 2015 by the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male. The event was co-sponsored by Band of Brothers, Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, Student Life Disability Services, Center for Higher Education Enterprise, City Readers, Never Let Your Pen Run Dry, Office of Student Life Multicultural Center, and The Ohio State University P-12 Initiatives.

Photo courtesy of Jay LaPrete Photography.