In preparation for the life-changing events rushing at me this year, I indulged in some self-reflection. I came to a realization about the path I have traveled to achieve success in my education, and the people who made that success possible. I have had important decisions to make about graduation, what university I want to go to, and what degree I am going to pursue. While making these decisions, I realized some significant things about the people around me, and about myself.
When I was about 5, I set my heart on graduating with a degree from Mead High School. Once I got there, I found out Mead was not the learning environment for me. I enrolled at Mead Education Partnership Program, where I could still earn a Mead diploma and keep the 5-year-old’s dream alive. Unfortunately, a new rule went into effect this year and getting a Mead diploma from MEPP was no longer possible. I was completely distraught.
I discussed my problem with my principal, Pete Arthur, and teacher, Jane Wright, but to my dismay I would have to go back to school at Mead High School in order to achieve the goal I had set as a 5-year-old.
Pete told me that students like me were the reason he chose to be the principal of a school like M.E.P.P., and that I was the reason he was still there. That was when I realized that graduating was not all about me; I did not do this on my own, for several people made this possible.
I didn’t want to let down Pete and Jane after all the hard work they had accomplished to get me to graduation. I had a moment of clarity. Pete and Jane had treated me with respect and dignity. They showed me what dignity of the human person meant. They showed me that I did not have to fit into some sort of mold and that there were opportunities for me; that I was worth the time, effort and hard work it took to help me be successful. That is why he supported an alternative school like MEPP, to make sure that everyone had the chance to excel, to achieve his or her potential. They understood that everyone learns differently, and just because we are diverse in our methods of learning, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be educated.
The fact that people believed in me and took a chance on me when I didn’t believe in myself, gave me the strength and self-confidence to continue my education. They helped me understand the importance of education, a concept my mom’s been emphasizing my whole life. They all believed that I could succeed, and that made me believe I could go above and beyond their expectations. The respect and love I have for the people who made my success in school possible is beyond measure. Their kindness gave me another chance; my mom worked her hardest to get me to school, even when she had to work 12 hours a day. Jane tolerated my flexible concept of time and deadlines, and would fit me into her schedule, take my two-week late homework, and encourage me to continue working toward my goal of graduation.
My mom and boyfriend drove me to school at Spokane Falls Community College for an entire school year when I didn’t have my own means of transportation.
In the end, I made it to graduation, and in my eyes, we have all succeeded.