“This I Believe…”

This speech was given by 8th grader Charlotte Williamson at the Skinner continuation ceremony.

Skinner is all I have done since August 19th, 2010. When I look back, I can remember that first week like it was yesterday. My mom went to the First PTA meeting and came home the PTA president, as usual.

My year started with summer school, masked as “6th Grade Academy.” There I met Ms. Frahm, my awesome 6th grade Language Arts teacher who doubled as my basketball coach. But, during my first days of Skinner my most vivid memories surrounded some crazy 8th grade teacher, who I didn’t really know yet. His main goal was to scare us, as he yelled up and down the halls. And if you were so unlucky to be left accidently after school by your brothers, this teacher, known as Mr. Dehning, would use his line of, “Stick out your hand, make it into a fist, now put out your thumb. Now you have a way home.” After school, I found a strange safety in being the only 6th grader in Skinner’s Drama club, holding Ms. Gilman’s new baby while she was directing. Yet, what was most astounding was the support from all my teachers my 6th grade year. We were like a little family Mrs. Torres, Mr. Martin, Ms. Hale and Ms. Frahm, working together to make sure we succeeded.

Then there came the cool 7th grade. Mr. Smith and Ms. Winter joked around, but got us to somehow do our work without us knowing. Mr. Dennis and Ms. Anderson pushed us to our limits on assignments such as the “Monologue” to be performed in front of Mr. Dennis, his face never giving away any clue to our grade, or the infamous “Reformation” assignment, where Ms. Anderson challenged our views on government and religion. All these teachers expected us to do our best, and if we did not succeed they would amply assign PIE and Saturday School. This was also the year Mr. Dwyer came to Skinner and I found my love for violin and music. That summer, I went on the Washington D.C. trip. Ms. Frahm and Mr. Dehning, that crazy teacher who taught me to hitchhike when I was 11 were the chaperones. That opportunity changed my life; the trip brought us closer as a Skinner community.

8th grade year, finally, we had made it to the top, only one more year at Skinner. I became close to my drama teacher and now 8th grade Language Arts teacher, Ms. Gilman, my official second mom. My drama class became even more exciting with the introduction Maestra Allen, the spunky Spanish teacher with a love of crazy wigs. The very loud teacher I barely knew as a 6th grader, and who took me to D.C., became a good friend, and even a cooler history teacher. I was lucky to meet this next teacher before 8th grade, when she came to my house on a home visit; Ms. Skrobko, one of the nicest people I know. She took me in her learning family when my schedule was changed. She helped me make a pointless science fair project idea into a meaningful research project that I was interested in. She became someone who was always there when we needed to catch up. Then there is Ms. Murayama. Well, I think we are definitely ready for high school. She taught me one of the hardest lessons we had to learn before high school. She explained, ‘The teachers will not, I repeat will not, follow you around for your homework. If you don’t have it the day it is due, you have to turn it in on your own time.” But that is why I will miss her; she like other teachers she gave us a reality check. We are going to high school, we have to be ready.

I feel that Skinner has been a long road of preparation, hard work, but has given us what we need for our future. So this I believe. I believe in Skinner. In the opportunities and memories made in its hallways. I believe Skinner has created the future presidents, CEOs, valedictorians, actors and actresses; people who will go on to be translators, professional orchestra or band members. I believe that where ever we decide to go, what ever we decide to be, Skinner will have affected and will continue to affect how we will make decisions, and live our lives, continuing our educational journey. So, I believe in Skinner. I believe in us.

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