The Last Retreat – Probably one of the best years of my life…

Part I –

I have definitely grown a lot in directing myself. What’s the Story forced me to direct myself and be independent in my work, which is one of my favorite parts about this program. The biggest portion of my work was done at home, and there wasn’t anyone there who could help me or give me guidance or direction, even if they wanted to. At first, I wanted to have a little guidance and use it as a safety net, just in case. But I got used to having to do things myself and taking initiative for my own work and I liked it that way, because it was so fun and exhilarating to be free to make a product that I can be proud of and I can say, “This was all me.” You don’t get that in a traditional classroom. You get a product, but it was made under the direction and supervision of the teacher, and you can’t say, “This was all me,”, you only get to say, “This was a little bit me.” That’s why What’s the Story is literally one of the best programs I have ever experienced.

I think I have grown in being an involved and responsible citizen. I have worked with a team (Brynna and Zachariah) and it has helped me be able to work in a group more efficiently. I’m usually more of a loner when it comes to group projects because I like working alone, but What’s the Story really helped me be comfortable and willing to work in a group. Through this program, I have learned more about my learning strengths and my learning obstacles, especially when it comes to working in a group, and I’m very grateful for it. I hope I have promoted and proposed a feasible course of action for positive change. I think I have done that through my documentary, and I feel like I have successfully helped my community understand the problem and some of its solutions.

I have found a bunch of information, then separated it all, then put it all back together in a 12 minute documentary. I feel like that is a good representation of my growth as an informed and integrated thinker. I’m not really sure how to further prove my growth in this field.

Just the thought of telling stories has made me so excited and happy for being in this program because I feel like one of the main reasons for life is telling the stories of those who came before you, and from that, everyone can interpret the story in their own way and learn from it. But there has to be people to tell those stories and doing this program has shown me all of the key components of a good story and how to synthesize those components into a story that people can learn from. I will always use this skill in life for as long as I live, and the credit goes to What’s the Story. I’ve also learned how to listen to other stories and identify those components like the important characters, the issue, the solutions, etc. I’ve also learned how to listen when I’m in a group, and I’ve learned how to use everyone’s voices in the product.


Part II –

Throughout this entire program, I have worked, collaborated, and made friends with people I never thought I could. I never thought I would ever know anyone in Middlebury, but now I know people from there. I have learned other people’s stories, and more importantly, I now have an experience I can add to my story.

I have learned about gender pronouns, the existence of ELL, the struggle of “mentally challenged” people, and much, much more. I have also learned more about me. Where I stand on these issues, and how I thrive in learning. What’s the Story is one of those examples of environments where I thrive.

I have also learned the impact we can have on society and our communities. And I’m so happy I have made a change. I showed my documentary to my class, and they loved it. I’m even helping a 7th grader apply for the 2017-2018 cohort of WtS.

I’m so happy my mom found the time to call me from New Hampshire, when she was in the middle of orientation for a big new job, to tell me about an email saying my principal would like me to join this Middlebury College program, that started the very next week. I’m so happy I picked up the phone, said yes, and filled out everything 10 minutes later.

Thank you What’s the Story, for giving me one of the best years of my life.

Hey! I'm an 8th grader from Vermont. I used to live in Georgia for 7 years. I enjoy swimming, biking, reading, acting, singing, making music, listening to music, archery, and much more! I've been described as organized, kind, respectful, funny, and easy to get a long with. Along with singing and acting, I also play the Baritone Saxophone in the school band. I am currently 13 years old, but I'm am close to 14. I have 5 brothers, 1 sister, 2 nephews, 2 nieces, and over 10 cousins. It's a pretty hectic family, and I'm the youngest out of most of them. And don't forget, read my blogs, and for now, thanks for reading this!

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