by: Tom Regan Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A former Georgia Tech student who was nearly shot to death in a robbery is helping a Gwinnett school raise money to teach students with dyslexia.
Patrick Whaley struggled with the learning disability when he was a student.
"When I was growing up, I was told I would never make it into a four-year school or get good enough grades to graduate," said Whaley.
Whaley is a board member of Sage School, the only private school for dyslexic students in Gwinnett County.
In 2009, an armed robber shot Whaley in the parking deck of his apartment complex near 10th Street in midtown. He nearly died. Months later, the engineering student graduated and won a entrepeneur competition. He went on to design and patent specialized athletic training vests that are now worn by college and professional athletes.
"Life gives you adversity at every turn. And it's really up to you to take that adversity, challenge it, and overcome it," said Whaley.
Whaley told Channel 2's Tom Regan he is working to help the school raise money for new technology. A fundraising gala is scheduled for March 23.
"I went to school in Gwinnett County, and I wish I had a school like Sage to help me out. It's really a unique school. It offers something no other school does in our area," said Whaley.
Charlotte Martin, whose 10-year-old daughter attends the school, said the program has helped her in many ways.
"She just took off. She loves to read. They focus on the individual and they focus on the individuals problems and help them to learn better," Martin said.
The Sage School has grown from six students in 2010 to over 30 students. This week administrators moved the school to a new building on Satellite Boulevard in Suwanee.