At the end of every school year, 8th grade students are challenged to write and deliver a speech at graduation. Read one student’s experience and hear the hope she has for her future contrasted with the uncertainty she felt as she entered Pathway School.
My experience at Pathway has kind of been like a butterfly’s experience breaking out of it’s cocoon. When a butterfly is ready to break out of their cocoon it struggles, but by working their hardest fluid is pushed though their wings and they are strong enough to emerge and fly. If you were to cut their cocoon the butterfly would be crippled and weak. By having the struggle God intended it to have, the butterfly was able to grow strong and fly. This story is very much like my own. See, before Pathway I was in a cocoon, I was struggling. My fluid was what I have been taught here; the knowledge and truth about God. Without having the struggles I have had I would be weak. I stand before you tonight knowing without a doubt, my wings have grown strong and I am ready to fly. Today I am going to share about my experience before Pathway, tell you about my journey here and thank some very special people.
My school experience from 1st-3rd grade consisted of dragging myself through school guessing on tests, and enduring pain staking reading exercises. I felt stupid and was ashamed of myself. I walked with my head down and mumbled when I spoke because I had no confidence. In third grade I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD. That year I wrote a paper and my teacher handed it back to me and all I could see were red correction marks. She asked me why I didn’t get it and if I was just stupid. That was the moment I officially shut down. That summer my mom had found Pathway’s brochure in a folder she had picked up at the doctor. She call Mrs. Wenger right away and I started my 4th grade year at Pathway.
Enrolling into Pathway I had mixed emotions of excitement and worry. I was worried that Pathway was going to be just like my previous school, but that quickly changed. One of the first things discovered was my learning style which is both visual and auditory. My teachers taught me strategies to help me become a better learner. Another thing that stood out was the people here. The students and teachers cared about me and it soon became like a little family. In my 5 years here I went from being the insecure girl who didn’t believe in herself to someone who loves learning and has confidence in knowing who she is. 1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young but set an example for the believers in life, in love, in faith and in purity”. Pathway has shown me how to live in such way that reflects my confidence in him.
Part of Mrs. Wenger’s vision for Pathway is that students would discover their God given gifts and abilities. I have come to realize that I have a passion for public speaking. God has given me this gift and I plan on using it for his glory hopefully in high school ministry.
I have accomplished more in the past 5 years than I ever thought possible. One of them was going to the ACSI Speech Meet 4 out of 5 years. My reading and writing abilities were several years below grade level but I have worked diligently to bring them up. Another achievement I have was finding what I want to do with my life. I have a passion and desire for ministry. Currently I am a kids small group leader at Saddleback Church. When I am older I would like to become a high school ministry leader. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. I know the Lord has amazing plans for me because He is faithful and Pathway has been a huge part of his plans.
So many people have been instrumental to my successes. Mr. and Mrs. Iverson I would like to thank you both so much for always being here for me, encouraging me from the very beginning. Mr. Iverson thank you so much for going beyond a P.E. teacher and finding articles on surfing and actually teaching me how to surf. Mrs. Iverson thank you so much for always having a smile on your face everyday I walk by your office. Whenever I needed something or was not feeling well you were there to put a smile back on my face.
I want to thank my Aunt Marcia and Uncle Ron. Without you both I wouldn’t have been able to attend Pathway. Thank you so much for contributing to support me and my education. I have been able to become a different person because of your love, care and generosity. Thank you so much for all your support during these past 5 years.
Mrs. Wenger without your vision of Pathway I have no clue where I would be right now. I want to thank you so much for making an environment where I could be safe and know that I am smart and can do anything though Christ. You have been such a great mentor and leader to me. Thank you so much for always being there for me. You have such an amazing heart and a encouraging spirit.
Mrs Sherman I know one day I will thank you for your tough love and all the work you have given me. I have come to realize that your tough love wasn’t to just tell me I am not doing my best at times but was to encourage me because you love me and want to see me succeed. You said the 7 words that made me realize this- “I will never give up on you!” You have truly been such an incredible role model in my life. I can not thank you enough for everything you have done for me. I think I have learned more Bible being in your class for the past 3 years than being at church 3 times a week. My faith has truly been changed and improved tremendously.
Last but not least my parents. I can honestly say none of this would happen without you both. Mom and Dad I want to thank you for everything you have sacrificed for me to be able to come to Pathway. Words cannot describe everything you have done for me. From the bottom of my heart I cannot thank you enough for all the support, time, effort, money and love you have put into my schooling. You have given me a amazing life, raising me in a Christian household. Every waking hour, every little moment, every day, every year and every trial you both have been there for me. You have no idea how much that means to me. All the support has helped me to grow in the person I have become today.
If I didn’t come to Pathway, I would never have dreams I have today, also my future as a student would be totally different. Psalms 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” This has taught me that God will always watch over me, counsel me, teach me, and instruct me. The dreams and plans I have today are being successful in high school, using all the wonderful tools I have learned at Pathway, going to college and serving God in ministry working with high school kids. Today like the butterfly, my wings have their fluid and are ready to take off and fly. I am ready to see what the world has to offer and what God has in store for my future. I will never forget Pathway. Pathway has given me a refuge. It will forever stay with me and will always have a special place in my heart.