To the Class and Teachers Who Saved My Life

When you’re in high school, you go through a lot of changes. Some are good. Some are bad. Some last a short while. Some last a lifetime. When I entered my freshman year, change was one of the hardest things for me to accept.

People say that life is like a variety box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. Well, in my freshman year, I had at least three different “chocolates” in my life.

I thought that I was going to be all alone. That all changed in just half an hour.

I sat down near a garbage can in the south corridor of my school outside of what I would soon find out was one of the classrooms for students who have special needs. (No, they are not excluded. They have enriched classes in these rooms, but still share lunch, passing periods, and any elective classes with the rest of the student body).

One of the teachers (as I would soon find out) walked into her room – no words exchanged, yet. About 5 minutes later, she approached the shy and rather skittish figure sitting near her door, and greeted me so kindly. I asked her what she taught, and she shared with me. I was hooked. She was so sweet, and worked with the students that I (would eventually grow to) love so very much.

The buses started pulling in, and some of the teacher’s students started to arrive. I still know all of them: Caleb, Nick, other Nick, Daniel, Justin, Kayley, Angel, Jay, Josiah, Robbie, Cameron, Danielle, David, and a few others I never had the joy of meeting.

We’d all hang out just outside that teacher’s door until the bell for first period rang. After a while, I began to realize that these kids, this teacher, and this class were beginning to have a huge effect on my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Eventually, I inched my way into the classroom and got to know the aides. Oh, the aides! They were wonderful! They respected me, and obviously their students, but little did I know that they had a job that was much tougher than meets the eye. I wanted to be more involved. I wanted to get to know them… So when I was in my freshman PE class and I was partnered with 2 students who had been in that class, I couldn’t have been happier.

I met with their teacher, and I had to learn all about what I was getting myself into, but the teacher reassured me that I was making the right decision when she said to me: “I know you’re the right student to do this.” That made me feel really good. 

The first sport we played together was volleyball. We made the best team ever, and the boys I got to spend 49 minutes with every single day… well, they couldn’t have been a better pair for me to be with. Our team did really well, despite the fact that most times, all we did was play around for fun.

These boys (and their aide) weren’t just the group I was put with. They were sent to me to teach me that different is better. They showed me that even if you can’t seem to find anything extraordinary to do, you can be yourself, and have fun while doing so, and that’s the best lesson ever.

Over the year, we were matched for various sports in PE, and we even started to talk more outside of class, and I grew closer with their classmates and their teacher. This teacher, if she’s reading this, knows exactly who she is, and I want to thank you for everything you’ve done. Your idea to place me with those two amazing young men was the best thing to ever happen to me, and I’m ever so glad that we’ve all remained close.

Please stay amazing, because you and your class have changed me for the better, for good. I would not be who I am today without you guys, and I’m so blessed to say I have a group of angels to call my friends. I love you guys, and don’t you ever forget it. 

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the amazing class, magnificent aides, and marvelous teacher who changed my life.

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