It has been three years since I graduated from Lincoln-Way West and started college. I am in my spring semester of my junior year at Illinois State University, studying to become a Special Education teacher. Although I am twenty-one now and a year away from graduating college, I still think of myself as the fourteen-year-old who couldn’t remember where her locker was, so she kept her books in her mom’s classroom, or as the eighteen-year-old who begrudgingly accepted her senior superlative of “Most Likely to Teach at West.”
In high school, I was on the varsity golf team for four years, Warrior Way, Peer Helpers, and I was a student leader in the adaptive gym class. I believe that I owe a lot to Lincoln-Way because it introduced me to the world of special education and being an educator. Adaptive was a decision that I am glad that I said yes to because it was where I was able to cultivate my plans for the rest of my life. Additionally, Peer Helpers gave me the skillset that I have today to teach with the kindness and compassion that many of the teachers at Lincoln-Way embody. Without all of the teachers that I looked up to in high school I would not be in the position to become a future educator. I believe that in high school it’s important to give all opportunities your best effort because you never know which ones you will find a passion within. It sounds cliché but high school can give you experiences that will carry with you for a lifetime.
When I got to college my freshman year, I did not know many people. Of course, I had a few people I knew from high school, but I wanted to expand my horizons and enrich my college experience, so I enrolled in sorority recruitment. I joined the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, and it has taught me so many leadership skills and empowerment. Through my sorority I was able to hold a position on our Position Council where I learned how to plan and prepare activities for groups of women. The relationships and experiences that I have gained through joining Zeta are ones that I will cherish forever. Right now, at Illinois State I have a job working as an aide for students who are low vision/blind, which another graduate of West helped me get. Without being an adaptive leader and having those experiences working with students with disabilities, I don’t think that I would have taken the job as an aid. Additionally, for my practicum semester of college, I tutor a 4th grade student online in Language Arts, which is a subject that I have always loved; I am working on fostering a love for reading with her. This tutoring experience is a prerequisite to my student teaching during my senior year, where I will hopefully be able to teach back in my hometown.
My advice to any high school students now would be to enjoy everything that Lincoln-Way has to offer because the days, months, and years fly by faster than you could imagine. The experiences that you have within the walls of West are something that you will carry with you through college and beyond, so cherish the moments and don’t dwell on unknowns.