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My name is Paige. I live in an average town, I attend an average school, and in a lot of ways I am just an average senior just waiting to walk across that coveted stage and receive my well-deserved high school diploma. Looking back on these past seventeen years I can say that I have no regrets, although some of the choices I made have affected me in a negative way they have also molded me into the person I am today. The choices that have affected me the most are not what shoes I wore to school that day, but the people I chose to surround myself with. Some of these people were good while others were bad, but there is one individual who has affected me the most and I know that I will never forget Mrs. Haworth.
The first day of my junior year I was not excited when I looked at my schedule and read “Biology II-Robin Haworth, Room 301”. I had never liked biology, I found it boring and the work tedious, I went to the counselor and protested but the chemistry class I wanted was full and I was stuck in biology land learning about niches and ecosystems. As I walked through the door I entered a dark room, with yellow lighting, and smelled disgustingly similar to tuna and popcorn. I took the last seat in the very back of the room and spotted my new science teacher. She had long brown hair, a long hallow face, and two devious eyes that glared at you from behind thin wire framed glasses. The bell rang and the rest of my classmates took their seats and Mrs. Haworth began to tell us how her class was going to be challenging and that if we weren’t up to the challenge she would gladly let us leave.
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The class was very challenging, and required a lot of outside attention. This was very difficult because I was juggling a new school, a new family, and a new job. My grades soon began to slip and just as I began to drown in a sea of zero’s Mrs. Haworth pulled me to safety and asked me about my life. I told her I was having a difficulty juggling my home life with school while working a part time job. She listened to me and I knew that she genuinely cared about my life and my well-being. After I told her about my basic problems she told me that she understood where I was coming from but I needed to learn how to manage my time better. Mrs. Haworth was no longer my lanky science teacher but my elder and somebody I could go to for guidance. My witty science teacher soon became my own Mr. Miyagi, pushing me to the extreme and letting me solve my own problems. If I made a C on a test she would hand it back and tell me to fix the ones I missed and tell her why I missed them. She never increased my grades but taught me how to study harder and that if I gave my all the first time I wouldn’t have any mistakes to fix. Mrs. Haworth never stopped pushing me, she knew I could do better and expected the best. And after many trials and even more errors my grade got better, but I was still having problems at home and I had no one to turn to or lean on.
I had never shared my story with someone before but I knew that I could trust Mrs. Haworth and that she would not judge me on my past mistakes or how I was raised. I told her about my absent father and my mother who was never home. I told her about how I got caught up in the wrong crowd at my old school. I told her that I felt like the black sheep of my family and that I felt lost, lonely, and depressed. I told her how I wanted to do more with my life but everyone around me just wanted me to be average. I told her everything and she listened, and began to tell me her story.
My teacher and myself have very similar stories, she also had two absent parents and that her only support group was her grandmother. She told me that her sister got caught up in the wrong crowd but she learned from her mistakes and decided that that wasn’t the life she wanted to live. She told me how in high school she never fit in because she cared more about learning and being the best she could be instead of partying on the weekend. She told me how she never listened to what others said and stayed on her own path and how she is happy and wouldn’t change anything. She told me that the mistakes I made in the past do not define me, but the lessons I learned from them did.
I had never had an adult open up to me before and treat me as her equal. I still respected Mrs. Haworth but it was not because she was just my teacher but because I knew she had a hard life and worked her hardest so her kids wouldn’t go through the same thing. Mrs. Haworth never let anything stop her from doing what she wanted to do and in fact even exceeded her own expectations. Over the past year she has taught me something that no one else could and that is if I want to be extraordinary I am the only one who could make that happen.
I might not be the smartest, funniest, or prettiest individual but I refuse to be average. I know that I am going to walk across that coveted stage and receive my diploma knowing that I did my best and begin my life with my own goals and dreams, and not what others expect from me. Mrs. Haworth taught me to make the most out of my life and she is a living example of how it is possible to come from nothing and be the best. I learned that does not matter what others expect of me but what I expect from myself and to never stop until I achieve it. Robin Haworth is not only my mentor and teacher, but also my friend and her words will be with me wherever I go.