A lesson to be shared

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:20

    As a 2011 graduate of Sparta High School and an incoming freshman at Brandeis University in January, I am in the unique position of having had a semester to create my own opportunities before delving into the excitement of college life. This semester has allowed me to work, study, and intern in ways I hadn’t expected to balance until after obtaining my college degree, but most of all, it has provided me with the chance to reflect on my high school experience. In doing so, I would like to thank some of the teachers who propelled me to where I am today and where I will be in the forthcoming years. Mr. Scognamiglio, Mr. Schels, Mrs. Allshouse, Ms. Brennan, Ms. Scott, Mr. Brennan, Mr. Hier, Mrs, Bach, Mr. Jones, and Frau Blahut; thank you for your encouragement, passion for teaching, and inspiration. High school taught me a lot of things I wanted to take some time to share with the current and future students of the Sparta School district. First, work hard; luck, natural intelligence or charm will only carry you so far. Each of you has the ability to do something great. Second, a B that is earned and deserved is more rewarding than an A that is not. Challenge yourselves; take the classes that interest you and some that do not. Embrace and enjoy learning and the grades will follow. Third, do not miss out on the basics! Instead of taking the highest level of every class, expand your horizons. Even the most complex theory has a simple foundation that is key to understanding. Lastly, the most important lesson I may pass on is respect. The seven letter word written on every kindergarten rule sheet, is routinely forgotten when thrust into the drama of high school. Respect not only classmates, but your teachers, and yourselves. Moreover, I would challenge each teacher to respect all of their students equally. My parents always said you have the right to say anything as long as it is said respectfully. The part I would like to add is that speaking your mind and standing up for what is right may come with a price. When faced with a teacher who I felt did not respect me or some of the other students, I expressed this concern in writing and was met with humiliation and was publicly berated by her. Even with the price of embarrassment, the reward of standing up for myself and others only further motivated me. My purpose for this letter is to reach out to students and teachers alike. With the recent tragedies in Sparta, I implore each member of Sparta High School faculty and student body to show each person respect regardless of how they treat you in return. The ability to respect others despite their attitude and actions towards you is a greater feat and source of pride than any A+ should be. The cost of doing what is right may be great, but it is the responsibility of each of us to display courage not only for ourselves but for those still searching for a voice of their own. Elena Insley Sparta