I remember I spent the night before my first day of middle school wide awake for what felt like hours. After finally falling asleep, I woke up ridiculously early to make sure I was prepared, dressed, and early for the bus. Because I felt so at home in my elementary school, I was pretty nervous about transitioning to a new environment, where I would have to learn everything from scratch. What I didn’t know then was that this new environment, Penndale Middle School, would be the home of the discovery of my passion for education. Throughout this post, I’m going to discuss how the size and diversity, opportunities, and staff at Penndale helped develop my passion.
Size and Diversity
Amongst the three middle schools in the district, Penndale was the largest. While the size and number of students was a bit intimidating at first, I quickly realized the benefits of attending a large public school. Not a day went by that I didn’t meet someone new, whether it was a student, teacher, or staff member.
With such a large student and staff population, the diversity in my school was incredible. Throughout my three years at Penndale, I was able to interact with and learn from students who came from different backgrounds, spoke different languages, had different interests, etc. Penndale made me realize that being different is what cultivates an enriching learning environment.
Throughout middle school, I was involved with various sports, clubs, and organizations. I ran and eventually managed Girls’ Track and Field, was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the Harassment and Bullying Intervention Taskforce team, served as a student liaison for the district’s Educational Foundation, and volunteered for various events.
Having the chance to take advantage of the countless opportunities at Penndale, I realized that some of the richest, most influential learning experiences occur outside of the classroom in an uncontrolled environment. With that said, I’ll always appreciate the fact that Penndale allowed their students to involve themselves with extracurricular activities to explore their interests and expand their knowledge.
I decided to save the best for last. While size and diversity and opportunities undoubtedly played a major role, the staff at Penndale is who truly allowed me to realize the impact that education can have in a student’s life. Each teacher that I was fortunate enough to have and staff member that I interacted or worked with, made me want to come to school. It was the staff’s passion that made me excited to learn and challenge myself.
I think that when students feel supported by and connect with the staff in their school, their feelings about the environment of school improve. If I had to characterize the Penndale staff in five words, I would describe them as inspiring, passionate, supportive, encouraging, and considerate. Because Penndale is home to too many wonderful staff members, I don’t want to name anyone specifically and accidently leave someone out. I just want my readers to know that the Penndale staff cultivated a positive learning environment that I will forever be grateful for.
Thank you, Penndale Middle School!