Ninth grade was a tough year for me.
I grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania, where everyone knew everyone. My academically-motivated sister was studying at an Ivy League school and my athletically-motivated, fun-loving brother was enjoying his senior year at my high school.
And I? I didn’t know what I was doing. I was constantly annoyed with my seemingly overbearing mother, struggling to figure out my friend group, and irritated by—well—pretty much everything. Who was I? Who did I want to be? How could I become that person? And why is my mother ALWAYS AROUND!?
We have kids here who are having tough years. We also have faculty and parents who rally behind the kids having the tough years. Instead of bashing the kid in the lounge (my 15-year-old experience), we have faculty meeting regularly to discuss what the child might need to help him or her through a rough patch. We have families reaching out to ask how they can support the child, rather than passing judgment. In short, we have a community who has created a large net around our students, allowing them each to safely experience a rough day, week, month, or year and to come out on the other end better for it.
Middle school isn’t always great. It’s not even always good. What it IS, at MCDS, is a place to grow up, to make mistakes, to figure oneself out, and to be supported by all of the adults around you in a loving, accepting, and compassionate way. If I had to be 15 again, I’d wish for it to be in a community like MCDS.