Middle school was a roller coaster ride for me. In sixth grade I was in all learning support classes. Sixth grade was the most difficulty year of school for me. I was treated differently from the first day of school. My home room teacher announced to the entire class that I was disabled and everyone had to treat me nicely. I knew she had good intentions but it made me feel like I wasn’t able to make friends on my own. Being in the learning support classroom all day was very toxic for me. I was with a group of students that didn’t come from a good home and acted out in school because of that. My learning support teacher took it easier on them than she should have because she felt bad for them. One on hand I understood why because she was hoping that if she showed them they had someone that cared about them maybe that would make them want to care about school more, but on the other hand I felt like I was barely learning anything because most of the time in class was spent dealing with their personal issues. I wanted to fit in with my peers so bad so I started to act like them. My best friend in 6th grade was Carrie. Carrie was very toxic for me. She had a bad attitude and didn’t care about school. She turned me on my parents and made me think they didn’t care about me because they pushed me to be independent instead of babying me because of my disability. Carrie also enabled me to allow everyone at school to baby me. I had a new aide that school year. Her name was Mrs. Goss. Mrs. Goss was a very nice lady but she did way too much for me and made me completely dependent on her. She did everything for me and both my home room and learning support teachers allowed her to do this. She wrote all of my assignments for me instead of making me type them.
I started 8th grade in all mainstream classes. I only needed learning support for extra help as I needed. I feel a lot changed for me in 8th grade. My aid was only in the background just in case I needed something. I also started running track. This was the biggest change for me because I went from being the disabled person in the class to one of the athletes. I became one of the popular crowd. I felt like my classmates were taking the time to get to know me passed my disability. I also wasn’t going to therapy and was off my seizure medication. This allowed m to do more with my friends outside of school. I was able to go to sleep overs and to school dances. I slept over at Kelly’s house after every dance. Kelly’s dad started calling me his extra daughter because I was at their house so much. Kelly got me interested in fashion and music like every other teenage girl. Kelly and I went to my first concert in 8th grade. We went to see Aaron Carter at the York Fair.
I also began to run track in 8th grade. I wanted to get back into sports since I became too old for my T ball league. Track improved my life in many ways. Track really strengthen my legs and improved my CP. I did all of the workouts that the rest of the team did. I was a sprinter when I began track. I ran the 100 meter dash and the 200 meter dash. Track also improved my self esteem because I felt like a normal kid who went to school and went to practices and meets. I also made a lot of friends on the team. I also started to develop my own life away from my parents because this was the first time I was away from them for most of the day, and I was with my peers more than my parents. I really enjoyed track meets and competing in my races. I had so much support from everyone during my races. I came in last during all my races, but everyone always cheered me on. I was always able to beat my personal record in all of my races. All of these changes that occurred during 8th grade really made me excited to begin high school. As eighth grade was winding down we were all preparing for high school. This was very exciting for me and I was at a point in my life where I was pretty much a normal student. I was going to be in all mainstream classes and I only needed an aid for emergencies. The school also allowed me to start walking during the school day instead of using a wheelchair. I had a good group of friends and I could have the same social life as my friends.
Eighth grade really flew. We had a lot of activities at the end of that school year. We had our end of the year trip at Hershey Park. That trip I spent the day with Kelly. Kelly and I both loved the same rides, and really loved roller coasters. We rode every roller coaster in the park. We also played several of the games and we both won a giant Scooby-Doo stuffed animal. This was my first Hershey Park trip without my parents. This shown me once again how independent I was becoming. My aid didn’t even need to go with me on this trip. I was able to have a day to myself with my friends.
We also had an eighth grade fair well dance at the end of the school year. This dance was like a mini prom for middle school. It was only for eighth graders. It was a formal dance. The weekend before this dance Kelly and I went dress shopping for this dance. I picked out a light blue spaghetti strap dress with a puffy bottom. I got silver shoes to go with the dress. Kelly picked out a black spaghetti strap dress and white shoes. The day of the dance I went to Kelly’s house after school. Kelly’s mom did our hair and makeup. We took pictures together in the front yard. Kelly’s mom drove us to the dance. We hung out with the rest of the girls on the track team. After the dance I spent the night at Kelly’s house. We watched movies with her younger sister all night. I started staying at Kelly’s house so much that Kelly’s dad started to call me his second daughter. My friendship with Kelly was completely different from my friendship with Carrie. Kelly was a good Christian girl and was very active in her church. Kelly was close to her family and her home was more welcoming. Kelly took school seriously and encouraged me to do well in school and being more independent from my aid. I started to fit in with the rest of my classmates more because Kelly got me into fashion and music. I also saw the way Kelly and her mom interacted which made my mom and I closer. When Kelly’s dad and my mom met for the first time they realized they went to high school together. It felt nice to have a best friend that my parents trusted. My friendship with Kelly gave me a lot more freedom. I was able to go over to Kelly’s house almost every weekend.
We also had an eighth grade awards ceremony at the end of the school year. This awards ceremony was for both academics and sports. I earned an award for high academic achievement. This awards ceremony also included the National Honor Society inductions. The next day during the school day we had our eighth grade graduation. This graduation was held in front of the whole school. In this ceremony we were called up to receive our diplomas. As we walked up to receive our diplomas the principal read off what activities we were involved in during middle school, what honors we received, and what our future plans were.