I Didn't Hate Everything In High School
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I Didn't Hate Everything In High School

This is a belated thank you from a grateful student.

I Didn't Hate Everything In High School
Justine Warrington

Since my first semester of college is coming to a close, I have been reflecting more on my previous experiences in school. I didn't show my appreciation for what I had back in high school. I was too consumed with the issues that caused me pain and I was not far enough removed to truly sit back and reflect.

Since I've been at Lehigh, I have not forgotten two particular teachers I had in high school that one way or another encouraged me to continue when I was giving up. I wasn't on the verge of defeat. I was defeated. I'm not going to lie, like many other teenagers I absolutely detested high school and the hardest year during those four was junior year. I wasn't in school fully for nearly 100 days that school year. Yeah, it seems strange that despite barely being healthy enough to be in school during the last half of the first marking period, the entire second marking period, and part of the third, I managed to finish without anyone really suspecting anything was awry. Getting out of that situation and still being on the right track to applying to colleges and taking rigorous classes was mostly due to the fact that I was petrified of failure and willing to do anything to further prevent me falling on the "wrong track." However, this story would be incomplete without mentioning the role my Spanish teacher and English teacher had. Actually this piece is about and directed to the two teachers that unknowingly (at the time) helped me way more than they probably realized.

Mrs. Alemany was my Spanish teacher junior year for Intermediate Spanish 1 which was through the University at Albany's "University in the High School Program." I started to miss school in October and a month later I was completely doing school while at home. In December, I was able to get a tutor through my high school for my college classes. Mrs. Alemany ended up being my "tutor" for Spanish and came to my house with assignments and alternate versions of projects I can do. That was her job, but what wasn't her job was checking in on me and speaking to me like she was my friend. I know, those actions seem very ordinary, but to me they were not. It meant so much that I was able to be in a space where I felt comfortable and there was no judgement as throughout my entire life in school I felt isolated, and unable to express myself truly. When I started transitioning back to school in February, Mrs. Alemany was that teacher who I trusted, which is something that is very difficult for me. Eventually, I applied to be an officer in the Foreign Language National Honor Society which was run by Mrs. Alemany. FLHS became a space where I was completely involved and felt comfortable in: it became my home during senior year. Shoutout to #Lisa who always asked me about Sons of Anarchy and tried to get me to respond in my broken Spanish.

Mrs. Kaste was my English teacher during junior year. Even before October I knew that although the classroom setting made me nervous and more tense, Mrs. Kaste's corny yet ridiculously funny sense of humor and excitement for literature made her class enjoyable. After I came back to school full time in February of 2016, I realized that it was okay to not be on top all the time and that seeking help was not a sign of weakness. Mrs. Kaste's attitude is so positive and her laughter is contagious so it was even easy for me to feel at ease as she helped me catch up in school. Beyond academics, Mrs. Kaste provided an encouraging and steady voice for me during a time when my brain deceived me and my thoughts were spiraling. Thank you Mrs. Kaste for always offering me sound advice and doing some strange made up Lehigh cheer in the middle of the hallway for when I committed to college!

This is specifically to Mrs. Alemany and Mrs. Kaste from my old high school, but props to all the Alemanys and Kastes out there, you guys rock.

Since this whole story was sort of cheesy anyways I'll share a quote that just screams #relatable:

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, 'I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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