LJA helped me a lot. I learned the difference between good
and bad. Going to LJA was amazing. I miss every second of it. At times, I might
have said that I hated school, but I was lying to myself. I went to high school,
and it felt like everyone was the same; they experimented with drugs and sex, and had
boyfriends already. My classmates from LJA and I were not interested in those
things. I want everyone to just remember you don’t have to change because
everyone else is the same. I'm glad I went to LJA because I found myself, and
I'm not like everyone else. I will never forget the memories I have from LJA, I
remember every second of them. I still look at the pictures from LJA, and I
still look at my 8th grade graduation pictures. I'm thankful I went to LJA.
Laura Jeffery Academy. Where do I start? This school has
changed my life in so many ways. I have always been a weird child and at LJA I
was able to be my crazy self. I am so glad I have had that opportunity. I use
the things I learned there and the experiences that I got to partake in –
everything from working with on the writing process, to being stuck in the muck
in science, to having a wheel burn off on our "serving ladies" trip,
to walking across the stage with an 8th grade diploma in my hand. Laura Jeffery
Academy has been with me every step since that last day, and will be with me
Laura Jeffrey Academy is an incredibly unique school, but I didn't realize just how special my experience as a middle school student there was until I started my first year as a high school student.
As I started to meet people who had not gone to LJA, I began to realize that LJA had exposed me to a kind of learning that was vastly different from what many of my high school peers had experienced at their middle schools. LJA helped me to develop my critical thinking skills in an environment where it was okay for me - a girl - to speak out about my opinions in class, which has ultimately made me a better student and scholar. During my freshman year I also learned that the teachers I had at LJA were not necessarily "typical" teachers. At LJA, I felt like every teacher cared about each individual student, and wanted them to succeed. It was easy to see that the teachers were passionate about the subjects they were teaching, which definitely encouraged my own love of learning.
LJA also offered me the wonderful opportunity to be a part of a middle school debate team, and introduced me to the world of competitive debate, which I have continued to be a part of in high school. I will most likely continue to be involved in debate for the rest of my life, and I have the LJA debate team to thank for that.
Overall, I am very happy to have been a part of LJA. I think it provided me with a unique middle school education in a supportive environment, and allowed me to find the things that I am most passionate about, such as debate. LJA will no doubt have a lasting impact on me as a student, as a scholar, and ultimately as a person.
Indulge me if you will, just for a moment as I tell you about my few but great years at LJA. I was in the second graduating class of LJA, but was not able to give a formal farewell speech. Now that I have the chance, I want to thank all of the LJA community, staff, and teachers. I have been blessed to see and be a part of seeing how LJA has changed lives.
LJA is known as a tight knit and small school, in the sense that the students and teachers really get to know one another, and are really able to build relationships. The opportunities, speakers, and places that I have been able to experience have been eye opening and memorable. As the motto says, "asking questions, making choices," it may sound redundant, but I have really lived by that. As I come up on big life decisions, jobs, driving, peers, and college, I think that this motto is really what high school students need. In order to make choices you need to ask questions of yourself and others. This school and its teachers have really set me up to go down the right path, they have let me ask questions, and let me use tools and experiences, setting me up on a road to make choices. I am a person who wants to go and experience new things, not just sit in a classroom. Too often, young teenagers don't like change. LJA as a school and a community has put change in a new light for me.
Judgment and bullying have always been an issue, this happens no matter what school a student attends, and unfortunately it happens here. My experience has been quite harsh, but then again I have been able to learn from it. I had a lot of help from LJA's social worker, who has a really powerful and inspiring message for the victims of bullying. She reminded me that you can't let them change you. Life is bigger than 5th grade bullies and you can't let them control what you think about yourself. I hope that in the years that this message has been spread, bullying has decreased and compassion for others has increased.
The skill and level of education was phenomenal at LJA, and it set me up to excel in other academic classes. A lot of the time what we were learning was a grade we were in. The grading system was different than other schools, and this helped me achieve goals not set by a letter grade, but by how well I can comprehend and demonstrate the skill. This was a better representation of how I learned and exhibited the subjects.
I have been fortunate enough to go down the right path and make choices in my high school career because of the help of LJA. What really struck me as being important to the development of my experience were the relationships between students and teachers. "Asking questions, making choices," is a message to stay strong and hold fast, to have faith in yourself, and to remember the importance of what's on the inside rather than worrying so much about what's on the outside. I cherish the community I have learned to call family, the people at LJA who have made my learning possible. They have really changed my life, and I cannot say goodbye to the people who have changed my life. I hope that I have been able to express my gratitude, so I end with a thank you.