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School Daze: Words that Changed My Life

Joined: 4/26/2014
Posts: 5

Seventh grade was the transition year for me. I wasn’t drowning in the sea of low self-esteem where most girls my age resided, but I didn’t fly high above it like some of the more eccentric, confidant people I knew. I was perfectly content to sit there and drift, blending in with those around me. I hadn’t yet found the compass of “self-discovery”, so to speak, that would point me in the direction of where I was going and who I was in life.

That changed when my Language Arts teacher called me up to her desk one day during the ten-minute reading time. Being a relatively quiet and shy girl, I couldn’t help but feel absolutely terrified. As I made the short but seemingly incessant march up to the front of the room, my mind raced frantically as to why she would want to speak with me, of all people. As far as I knew, my grades were fine. I had never really spoke in that class -- much less disrupted it. Perhaps I had made a mistake on one of my assignments?

As I stood timidly in front of her, I noticed the papers she held gently in her hands. Closer inspection revealed that they contained the story I had written for a school project just the week before. My teacher studied me for a moment, before her mouth broke into a large smile.

“I just wanted to let you know that your story was amazing,” she expressed, waving the papers in the air for emphasis. “You truly have a gift.”

As cheesy as it sounds, I immediately felt a warmth inside that I hadn’t really felt before. A few words from this teacher made me feel different from the other students, but in a good way. At that moment, I wasn’t just another person in the crowd. For a few minutes, I felt special.

This experience has always stood out to me because it helped me realize that I was not only good at writing, but that I loved doing it as well. Over the years since seventh grade, I’ve written many short stories, poems, and essays that have helped me through the trials and stress of school. I am not a good public speaker, but through writing I have found my voice; I have found a way to express and to be myself.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if my teacher hadn’t gone out of her way to utter those few words of praise. Would I have realized I had a talent? Would I have taken the time to cultivate my talent to improve it even more? It’s been years since I’ve last seen that teacher, but to her I will always be thankful. For she helped me not only find something I loved, but a piece of who I was as well.
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your School Daze essay being chosen as 1 of the 10 essays in the running for 1st place for our August 2014 teen writing competition. Be proud of your accomplishment.

We are in the process of selecting our top three winners, and naming the 1st place winner from the narrowed field.

We will post all winning essay results by September 30th. You can check this page for the results after September 30th:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 4:12:27 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your School Daze essay being tied for 3rd place.

To view all the results of our August contest, please check our winners page on or after September 30th:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014 9:03:39 PM
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