My accident completely turned my life upside down. I was so outgoing and the week of my accident I found out I made Varsity Cheerleading for football in the fall. It was supposed to be the best summer but I was left with a nightmare that was my new reality. It felt so unfair that I could not process all of what happened. On top of it I had a head injury from my head hitting and causing my brain to bleed which obviously comes with it’s own issues.
Instead of starting my junior year as the outgoing cheerleader I returned to school as the angry teenager in a wheelchair and crutches.
Previously school came pretty easy to me. I got good grades overall. I had some issues with skipping classes and my inability to not talk to people around me but I definitely managed.
After my accident I had a really hard time focusing and concentrating when I was in class. I would read something and then not have a clue what I read. I would have to read something so many times before I could comprehend it. This was something I had not had to deal with before.
I started back with a wheelchair which didn’t make it easy to get around. When I wasn’t in my wheelchair I also had to still be on crutches. It was difficult because whenever it would rain it would make the floor wet and I fell more than once. It would hurt not only physically but mentally it was so embarrassing. This was only making me more angry and anti school.
Due to some choices I made I ended up switching to my schools my senior year to go to an alternative high school. My attitude about school and anger certainly didn’t improve just because I was now at a new school. In fact I was more stubborn on days. I remember times that my teacher would call me and tell me to get my butt out of bed or he would come pick me up. That would finally get me moving but didn’t mean I was going to accomplish anything. In fact it was getting to the point that I could possibly not graduate high school.
My mom has always been my biggest supporter. She knew me better than I knew myself. I still remember this conversation like it was yesterday. She came up into my room and started talking about school and how I was not going and not getting credits. She then said to me one of the most defining sentences of my life “Maybe you could go get your GED instead of going to high school.” It wasn’t said as hurtful only as a suggestion. I have the upmost respect for those that have GEDs and cheer them on for being able to attain it. For me though this was not the answer. That one sentence was the best reverse psychology EVER! It was like a challenge that now even my mom didn’t think I could do this. That was one thing I would never ever be able to live with.
It was exactly what I needed to kick my butt in gear. I finally shifted my mindset and got to business. Luckily for me I had the BEST teacher at my school. He also knew just the right thing to say to keep motivated at that point. I started going to school every day. My teacher found ways to teach me or to help me learn that worked for me. We also had an awesome guidance counselor that would come down once a week that was so good at knowing just what to say to us to keep us going. The kids that went there turned into a whole new support for me too. I finally started putting in the hard work and started flying through my credits. I turned it around so much that I even finished my credits a little early.
I was able to walk across the stage with my entire class and accept my diploma from high school with my head held high. My confidence had grown along with my determination. We all dressed up for graduation and I had both a dress shoe and a tennis shoe on that day. Inside it did bother me but I was able to deal with it because I knew I did it! I made it through high school!!!
People continue to have judgements and even think less of alternative high schools. I could not commend them more. Sometimes I feel like I could be a spokesperson for alternative schools. They should never be looked at like a failure to high school but instead as finding a place that can figure out how to teach kids how to learn so it makes sense to them. I don’t know if Mr Walters ever realizes how much he did for me and all if the other students that went through when he was there. Lucky for me I am now friends with him on Facebook so I know he is still there. As for my mom she continues to be my role model, friend, supporter and is so amazingly humble about it. I love her so much and can’t imagine where I would be without her.
To those that are going through something similar themselves or if it’s a parent or teacher I can 100% say to hang in there and don’t give up. You never know what one sentence can do for someone.