Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life Story Part Three

When I left off at the end of the last post, I had just finished the fifth grade. At that time, I was in a deep depression. I will now continue with what happened throughout the rest of my schooling up until my graduation from high school.

Over the summer between my fifth and sixth grade years, I started pulling my life back together. I wish I could say that my troubles with school ended here, but that did not happen. I would have to continue to fight to receive my education all the way until I graduated from high school.

During my middle school years, I spent a lot of time catching up academically. My math skills were very limited because no one had taken the time to teach me basic math skills. I was quite advanced in other academic areas. I was reading at a twelfth grade level by the time I was in the seventh grade. That was a shock to me because I was told that I was stupid and unteachable.

As I was trying to improve academically, I was also emerging from the depression that I was in. There is a lot about this time in my life that I don’t remember well. I do remember immersing myself in my schoolwork. I was determined to prove all of the people who had given up on me that I could make it. As a result of this, I was a very good student.

I carried this determination into my high school years. Most of my high school memories are not good ones. I was mistreated by my fellow students and once again, I was not given the opportunity to prove that I could make it academically.

For much of my middle school years and the first two years of high school, I was placed in special education classes. In middle school, I could understand why that was done. My emotional instability alone was enough to cause me to be in special education classes. Add in the academic challenges I had and I probably wouldn’t have made it in a regular classroom.  However, this did not make sense once I got to high school. I still remember being so bored in the special education classes. I was not challenged at all in the classes and grew bored quickly. I asked to be put into regular classes and was met with resistance from the people in charge of the special education department. They did not think I could handle the work in a regular classroom.

This time I did not accept that answer. With the help of my mother and one teacher in the special education department who saw my potential, I won that battle. My junior and senior years were my best academically. I was finally in regular classes full time. Unfortunately it was still not easy for me. I wanted to graduate with a standard diploma. I could not do that because I could not complete all of the course work in a two year time period. I wanted to do extra course work so that I could finish all of the required courses, but I was not allowed to do that by the administration. The school wanted me to go another year, but I refused to do that. By the time I got into my senior year, I just wanted out. By then, I did not care. I was so frustrated with all of the people who were against me.

Even though much of my high school years was a struggle, there were a few good parts. My best memory is of being in the choir. My last two years were the best. I had actually given up on music after my sophomore year because of the current choir director. I felt like I was wasting my time. I wanted to quit, but my mom convinced me to try one more year. I am so glad I did. A new choir director started working at my high school at this time in my life. With her encouragement, I regained my love for music. I felt like she was one of a few people who gave me a chance to prove that I could do something. Jamie, the choir director, helped give me back the confidence that I had lost in myself. I will be forever grateful to Jamie for what she did for me during those two years. During my last year of high school, that was all I cared about. Nothing else seemed important to me. I new by then that I would be graduating with a special education diploma. I continued to do well in all of my other classes, but there was no enjoyment in them.
 At the end of my senior year, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. While everyone around me was preparing for college, I was left lost and confused as to what to do next. I ended up taking two years off between high school and college. However, these two years were not a total waste. In the next post I will share with you what I did during those two years.