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Determination + Grit = Full Potential

As Carlee shared her story about her Learning Center years, I was immediately moved with the self-awareness that she had as a very young student. She remembered the quiet, shy, almost "no talking" preschooler that she had been as she also recalled the encouragement from her parents, her teachers and peers to participate, to interact, to find her voice. By 2nd grade, she became increasingly aware of the gap in her academic skills. Reading was her biggest challenge.

As Carlee shared her 3rd grade experience, her enthusiasm was infectious. "I became self-determined to close my learning gaps. My teacher, Ms. Jay, was willing to do whatever it took to move me forward." The hands-on, collaborative projects began to grow my learning skills. I soon realized I liked math. Khan Academy became my new best friend as I reached for that 100% in all the math competencies. Carlee's mother had often shared that even weekends and holidays would find her focused learner chipping away at challenging math skills.

This grit and determination eventually placed Carlee into advanced math classes as she kept her eye on her next goal to get accepted in Tri-County Early College. Odyssey of the Mind was also working in its magic as spontaneity, creativity and opportunities to present continued to grow her. Our school drama program, her participation on the Quidditch Team continued the process of bringing Carlee out of her shell. She remains grateful for the support and encouragement of her middle-school team of teachers at a time when her self-confidence needed to be nurtured as she faced new and bigger challenges.

Her high school years brought sports opportunities. She enjoys soccer, track and cross-country. A current goal is to start a Quidditch team. Carlee is also looking forward to her next step in education as she tours college campuses that have strong programs in the areas of Athletic Training and Sports Medicine. She will graduate from Tri-County Early College in 2023.

Carlee concluded with these encouraging words to struggling learners. "Set backs are not the point. Come backs and moving forward are the goals."

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