School Pride

This week is School Pride week at my place of education–and who knows, maybe several other places of education are also holding a school pride week. To celebrate, they announced that students may enter a photo contest showing their school pride. The photos would be posted to Facebook, and the most likes by the end of the week would win an iPad mini.

I’m also currently losing the contest badly. I can’t compete with pets that some people so craftily included (I kid, I kid). And as much as I will say that I’m a mean high schooler who will willingly crush small children’s dreams, I’m not so sure I care about the contest anymore.

In an attempt to rally voters, I’ve tried to make my case. Why people should “vote” for my photo. And I’ve realized how much my school has done for me in so many aspects.

When I was really, really little, I met a family that became my best friends for several years. They had five kids, and as an only child, their house was amazing to me. I probably wouldn’t have run into them anywhere else, and would have lost that fun friendship that I still hold today.

When I got a little bit older, maybe fifth grade, I met my next best friend. We did everything together until she moved across the country three years later. She was actually a really close neighbor, but I wouldn’t have ever gone poking at the doors to find her. School made that happen.

In seventh grade, I joined a club in a group called SOAR. It was headed up by one of my favorite teachers, and they told us about this really cool thing: National Novel Writing Month. I quickly came up with a story idea, and with the support of SOAR, wrote my first novel.

Even in eighth grade, after SOAR had been dismantled, I wrote another novel in a month. The flexibility that my school has always provided me helped me with that. Even without SOAR, my school was still pushing me forward.

Ninth grade was a good year. I made a buddy-like pact with two guys. One of them had been in SOAR, too, and the other one was a guy from my Robotics Team, but I wouldn’t have ever been friends with him without school. They were my go-to people for help with Math, and we always worked together in English class. Even though the group of three Chess-Keteers might get split up in the future, it was so valuable in my freshmen year.

And now, this year, my tenth grade year, one I’m still experiencing. My school still has Writer’s Nook, a huge help with my writing. There’s nothing like reading a piece that your characters say with all the emotion you can muster and your peers giving you a burst of applause.

I’m so grateful to my school, and I can’t really say “thank you” enough for all the experiences you’ve given me through SOAR, outings, and with some of the amazing teachers I’ve had.

I know that probably wasn’t as cool as a dog with a pencil in his mouth ready to get some learn on. But it’s the truth. And I’m glad I said it.

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Concrete Skate-O-Rama!

Sometimes, interacting with people can be difficult. I mean, sometimes, people are scary. It can be terrifying to approach a counter and request something. To walk up to someone who looks extra grumpy and ask them a question. To knock on someone’s door. And meeting new people in strange place? Forget about it!

What I’ve begun to realize is, it can actually be quite simple–not easy, but simple.

Let me give an example. A month or so ago, one of my little second cousins asked if she could come play with me. Let’s establish some background: small child who doesn’t have a long attention span, teenager who isn’t feeling well and has an insane schedule, and frigid fall air. My personal response? Oh, goodie.

Maybe this sounds terrible of me. And maybe it is terrible of me. But I’ve never gotten along well with little girls. It’s always been difficult for me. And now, I had to entertain one for at least an hour?

We dashed here, and there, indoors, outdoors, train tracks, trampoline, swing set, dolls, hide-and-seek. My attitude going in was, “Let’s get this over with”. But then I realized that there was a little girl who was trying to have a good afternoon. And maybe I found it difficult for myself, but how could I rob her of that if it was something I was capable of?

In the last twenty minutes, when she got on the trampoline for the thirteenth time, I tried to be fun. I bounced with her, I held mini challenges for her, and she started to giggle. And honestly? I had fun, too.

That’s just a small example. But I’d like to think that I made a difference in her day. Isn’t that all she could ask for at her age?

The title of this post is, “Concrete Skate-O-Rama!” I ask that you please read this in your best announcer voice, as this is how I would be reading it to you.

Allow me to paint the scene. I, who is not feeling well due to food and its cruelty, am outside on the porch steps reading a book, rather than inside socializing with family. Engrossed in my book, while also noticing some insane, as well as creepy, nutter-butter who’s jogging in the chilly winter air without a shirt. And then there’s my little second cousin who comes outside and starts to play on her skateboard.

She’s only eight or nine, and doesn’t have much practice on her new board. She’d set it up along the walk, push off, and I would go, “Oops! Grass!” and she would giggle. Eventually, I became especially cold, and was going to go inside when I remembered Mr. Creepy Shirtless Jogging Guy. There was no way I was going to leave her out there alone, no matter how numb my bottom became against the concrete step.

Eventually, I get off the step and say, “Hey. Let’s play a game!” because, why not, right?

I dig out my game show host voice from deep inside me and we started playing, “Concrete Skate-O-Rama!” Eventually, I had made up several challenges that included, but were not limited to: grass; tree; earthquake plates; “the ridge”; and finally, if she made it the whole way to the “Watch Children Crossing Sign” she would win…say it with me…”Concrete Skate-O-Rama!”

The fact that I actually had to make a deal with her to go inside proves to me that I was able to entertain her. And I’m proud that I made the best of my time, no matter how difficult it was to interact with her.

I’m pretty sure I’ve got some more learning to do, regarding this whole, “Make the Most of Every Situation” thing. But hey. The next time you’re stranded with only a skateboard and a side-walk, try out “Concrete Skate-O-Rama!” I promise you’ll have fun.

Just make the most of it.

“Little Men” – Read it, Love it, Cry

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted a blog in quite some time. I apologize for this, but I actually have been blogging, you just haven’t seen any posts.

That’s because I’ve been completing a blog for school. It’s a book blog, and I’ve been reading through the novel Little Men. It’s an older novel, but I’ve grown to love it dearly, and the characters within even more.

Anyway, I haven’t been able to share about the more common things in my life, such as eating food, or watching television, or spending a large chunk of my time at Robotics. So, I’ll give you my favorite sentence from the school blog, and then hope for a bit of genius to inspire me with a laugh to share.

“We are approaching the end of the novel, which means the author has begun the tying of little knots, gifting every reader with aching hearts which burst with pride and tears.” – Alexis Dingeldein, 2015.