As I begin my final year of high school, I reflect back onto my last graduation. I consider myself lucky to have attended a unique educational program. The school I attended for 9th grade wasn’t traditional. It was a 25 student Montessori program, serving grades 7-9, in accordance with Maria Montessori’s 3-year education system. I was in 7th grade when I entered the program from a traditional school, and I had never seen anything like it. Whether students were bringing back vegetables from the farm next door, cooking coffee cake for their peers to enjoy, feeding our flock of 5 chickens, or ordering this week’s office supplies - I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Yes, we had the traditional math, science, English, history and language classes, but the unique practical life aspects made it so much more than just a traditional school setting. It was a community full of opportunity and new experiences. This new take on education sparked a love for learning that I will carry with me for years to come.
Before I truly began to walk with Jesus, I was under the impression that I always had been. I was baptized as a baby, attended the same church my entire childhood, and spouted off every Sunday school answer without missing a beat. I loved the Lord, and I understood that he was my Savior and Creator, but I did not fully understand to what capacity I had been saved and created. I was missing something, and at age thirteen I developed a serious case of perfectionism. I closely monitored what I ate, religiously worked out, and devotedly studied to obtain unbeatable grades. I practiced piano every day until my wrists hurt and would except no less than flawless performances. I was captain of the cheer squad, and often referred to as “little miss perfect.” At a young age, I had constructed an image of what I thought I should be. Behind the facade, I was extremely lonely and insecure, but assumed those feelings were just middle school angst that would subside when I entered high school.
When I opened my eyes, everything was spinning, the world, the things around me, and my head. Teammates grabbed me and helped me stand. I remembered the concerned looks on their faces, but I had no idea what had just happened and how it would completely alter the fall semester. It was my sophomore year of high school and I had gotten a concussion during cheerleading practice. My teammate was supposed to flip over my head, but the first time we tried this precarious maneuver, she got scared and stopped halfway. Boom! She kicked me hard in the back of my head. Fortunately, I was able to slow her fall with my head and shoulders, but unfortunately she knocked me out cold. After assessing me, the trainer said I had a concussion. The phone call to my mom isn’t very cleat in my memory, but the pain from the headache will be staccatoed in my mind forever. For the next couple days I stayed in bed unable to engage with the word. My memories of that first week are fuzzy, but eventually I had to go back to school. At first it was very challenging. Concentrating and remembering small things in class felt like an impossible task and I found myself struggling with the constant pain. I remember one day in my AP United States history class we were watching a movie and writing a summary on it. My head, like usual, was hurting that morning, but I decided to stay at school and push to avoid falling behind. It was not easy, but life isn’t east and sometime you need to push through pain - both
August 2009, in the dead heat of summer I awoke with excitement for the day to come. Shooting up out of my bed to look at my clock. It reads six o’clock in the morning. Going down my checklist in my head I start getting ready for the day. Today is the first day of band camp. Two weeks of sweating your ass off in the blazing Florida sun and enjoying every minute of it.
Anyone that believes high school is the best four years of your life is grossly misinformed. That would mean the highlight of our lives consists of puberty, standardized testing, and awkward conversations. It’s a constant battle for respect from peers that believe themselves better than others. Regardless of our role in the hierarchical atmosphere, a large portion of high school students get sucked into the whirlwind of spirit and pride. I know I did. How could we not? We spend our friday nights freezing at sporting events to support our friends, our family, and our high school: the only identifying piece of information fellow Missouri residents will ask us about for decades. I’ve been out of high school for less than two years, but the most commonly asked questions among new friends and coworkers still remains: where did you go to high school? Personally, I attended Parkway South. I never planned to go back to high school but a service learning opportunity presented itself and I took an unexpected path.
As I gain more experience through learning in situations I find myself in, my mind flashes back to memories I have gained. A native of inner city Charlotte, North Carolina, many of my memories inspire me to continue growing with knowledge, so that I can help those whose decisions have mentally hindered them from growing intellectually. My mother had me at the age of sixteen, so the first knowledge I obtained about the world was learned through her experience as a teenage mother with dark skin in America. My family lineage is rooted in environments of low-income communities. My mother, one out of six, was raised in a household with both parents who were employed. Her mother and father, my grandparents, strived to make ends meet for the family without obtaining a high school diploma. My mother did not receive her high school diploma neither. My grandparents felt it necessary to raise me while my mother enrolled into a housing voucher program and rented her own apartment. I was enrolled into a head start program at the age of four, which helped me prepare for public schooling.
My eyes squinted as I gazed towards the massive building that for the next four years would be my success, demise, and most importantly, my high school. As I strut to the tall glass doors, I felt so prepared, confident even. Armed with a couple of best friends, sufficient intelligence, and adequate athleticism, I was positive that everything would go perfectly. After all, high school was the place of beginnings, a place where my friends and I would battle through together; high school wasn’t the place where everything would fall apart.
When I was a freshman starting in Gladstone High School, all I thought my only goal was to actively participate in the classes that I needed to go to college. I was reluctant of high school since I did not know what to expect. I was not the athletic one but I was smart in academics. However, there was one event during the middle of my freshman year that presented a challenge I had to face.
The high school I attended was very different. The last two years- junior and senior year- I was allowed to choose the classes I wanted to take. Having this opportunity I always avoided taking an English class. I never enjoyed it and one thing I disliked was writing papers on why I don’t like writing papers. I envied the people who enjoyed writing because as we get older that is a crucial thing we need. In many of my papers I was unable to maintain focus, need to use more transitions words, and lacked the proper knowledge on how to do a correct works cited. I have learned to fix some of my mistakes, but on other things I still need improvement. On my first paper, I struggled with staying focus on my topic. Second essay I struggled with transitioning my ideas from one to another. Lastly, I improved on both my lack of focus on my papers and I included more transition words.
As a little girl I knew school was going to be a problem for me because I remember I was always having a hard time doing my homework in kindergarten. I lived with my aunt and uncle and they had notice that I was not understanding any of the work. They would try to help me, but when I still didn’t understand they would end up getting frustrated and leave me to figure it out on my own. I would just sit there trying to do the work and then giving up, but they would always make me sit at my desk till I finally understood and finished all of my homework. Even at a young age I knew I was not going to be very good at academics. In elementary I was doing well in most of my classes except for reading and English. I used to go to a different class when we started on those subjects and I never knew why till I found out that those classes were for children with lower reading levels. After realizing that I was alright with it because I was actually beginning to understand some of the lessons. I was also getting the help I needed from the teachers who were helping me bettering my education.
As you grow old and begin your adventure through high school your mind begins to grasp the darkness this world has to offer. Remember that at the end of the path it’s the choices you make and don’t make that will determine what will be at the end of the trail. You are fifteen now my grandson and I know from experience that the evil of this world has already presented itself to you in many forms. Alcohol, drugs, and drama are all a part of life and what many go through including myself. The high school is full of new experiences and the decisions you choose to make that will stick with you for a lifetime.
Growing up I was a very shy person. I was the type of girl who hid her feelings because that's just what I was used too. My parents separated when I was only four years old. It was hard for me because I didn't have my parents together. It made me feel like it was my fault. They would argue about who was going to watch me when they went to work or how they couldn't afford somethings for me. I felt like like I couldn't talk to them about how I felt and that's why in school I would always shut people out when it came to my feelings. I remember teacher trying to talk to me but all I would do is shut them out, teacher after teacher. I knew that coming into Pritzker I was going to have a difficult time and I was going to have no one there to talk to.
Me, a student attending a normal day of boring school, or so I thought. This all started with a teacher named Mrs.Reed that many students disliked due to past experiences. Stories have lingered around the school of her locking kids in her closet for bad behavior which most have not yet to been seen since. She also smacks the kids with rulers if they fail to complete their work on time. After hearing all the rumors that people murmured about Mrs.Reed I prayed that I would never have to have that teacher throughout my high school education. So far I’ve made it through a year of highschool successfully. The last thing I need is a teacher like Mrs.Reed to come along and ruin my overall thought of highschool. So, it was the first day of a new semester and the bell to first just had rung. I needed to look at my schedule to see what class I had and where. I pulled the schedule out of my back pocket to look down and see the death of me, Mrs. Reed for HIstory, Room 306. Thoughts of terror and torture drained through my mind unable to even move my feet to class. The thoughts in my head things like “am I going to be the next victim of her known history of holding kids hostage in her closet?” I inched my way down the hallway classroom 304 passed then 305 passed and then 306 the classroom of doom. I stand in the doorway with trembling knees. I took a big gulp and made my way into the class head down trying to navigate the location of my desk. Finally, finding my desk I slipped into it
I have always been a shy person since I was a little kid. I was always nervous to go do things with people or to make a mistake in front of people. I remember in the 7th grade, the teacher called on me, and I had been paying attention but I got the question confused so I said something that was wrong. I felt the whole class just stare at me and laugh. Ever since then I have always struggled with self confidence. I lacked self confidence in just about everything, like what clothes to wear, what to say to people, talking in front of a class, etc.
So far in life, my passion has been educating myself to the fullest extent. Ever since I was in middle school, though not as understanding, I knew that all I really wanted to do was take in as much information that the world had to offer for me. Starting with advanced math classes, to other challenging AP courses. I even took the Calculus one and two course at my high school, through PSU, and did everything I could in order to prepare for Calculus three and four at PSU. Yet no matter what boundaries I pushed in high school, nothing was comparable to a real college course. Calculus three and four was by far my most rigorous academic challenge I have ever faced. Through devoting the most time and effort I have ever put into anything, I