In 2015, I was accepted into St. Martin’s Episcopal School. It was a big step forward for my family and me—we were all so excited that I would attend the highly renowned college preparatory school in Metairie. Neither my family members nor I knew that the next six years would hold a whirlwind of events and ultimately change my future for the better.
Before attending St. Martin’s, I was unaware of being the only person of color at my grade school. However, as I started my journey here, I recognized that I was certainly a minority in the majority. Over the years, I have struggled with finding my own self identity and balancing my personal and school life. However, I now realize these obstacles prompted my journey of personal growth and pride in who I am today.
At St. Martin’s, I prepared myself for the academic challenges coming my way. Though I have always worked hard for success, I found the first few years to be a difficult adjustment. At times, I felt, and still feel, that no matter how hard I try, my grade would not reflect my hard work. I questioned if all of my efforts would prove worthwhile, or if I even belonged at this school.
However, immense support from the faculty helped me to find myself in those moments of self-doubt. They always had faith in me, and I will never forget that student-teacher bond.
I remember deciding to take Latin my eighth grade year. I struggled through the classes as I tried to catch up with the rest of my classmates who had already been learning the language for a year. Nearly everyday after school, I would find myself in Mr. Schwarz’s room practicing and translating sentences. He always welcomed me warmly and gave his patience and devotion to help me catch up. I have received the same support from all of my Upper School teachers, especially Dr. Laskay. As my teacher since junior year, she put in an extraordinary amount of work and care for her students. She has helped me grow as a math student, and I can say that I feel genuinely prepared for my next step in college.
Although I thrived and loved the school and its opportunities, I also struggled with finding my place among my classmates. Knowing that I came from a different background, I often felt left out or unable to easily connect with others. Nevertheless I had my family, who always had my back, reminding me to keep my head up and moving forward. Without them, I would be lost, and I would not be as proud of my heritage and roots.
Now, as my time here at St. Martin’s draws closer, I feel so happy and proud of the young woman I have become. I started out as a shy, quiet middle schooler and have blossomed into a hardworking, confident individual. I am so grateful for the opportunities from St. Martin’s. I will forever be proud of my school and the upcoming generations of students that will follow my footsteps.
To future students, my best advice if you feel left out or incapable of accomplishing great things is to always keep your head up and move forward. Remember who you are and the values most important to you, and strive for success. Meet with your teachers if you are struggling, talk to and learn from your peers, and most importantly, use the resources that our school has to offer.