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At RA, we begin each week with an all school assembly. It is tradition for every Grade 8 student to take a turn running the assembly and speak about something that is meaningful to them. Each week, their speeches will be posted for our community to read. These outstanding young people are the leaders of our school and have experiences and stories that are important to share. Last week, Charlotte H. spoke about the importance of finding her own path. Enjoy Charlotte's story!

Finding out who you are and what you really like is an important journey, and one that I have been on over the course of my time here at RA. I have grown up with three older siblings my entire life. Grace and Eleanor, my twin sisters, are six years older than me, and in college, and Xan who is two years older than me and is a sophomore at Avon Old Farms. Having older siblings has given me a path to follow and an idea of what I should and shouldn’t do. However, it has taken me some time to find my own own voice. For example when I was younger I didn’t really like reading and only read for school “when I had to”. One time I saw my sister, Grace, reading Harry Potter, and I thought, if she likes that book, maybe I should give it a try. As it turns out, I ended up reading the whole series, twice, and loving them! After reading Harry Potter, I can get into any book, and I have learned to love reading. Reading has helped me get to know myself better and has been an important part of my journey, exposing me to new and different ideas.

Being the youngest of four kids, I always went to see my siblings play sports. Every time I went, I saw them having so much fun, and would think about how much fun I would have if I did the same things they did. My sisters play field hockey and ride horses and my brother plays soccer and lacrosse. I started playing soccer at four; one, because Xan played and two, because my dad was a soccer coach. At first, I thought I really liked the sport, but realized later that it really was not my sport - really it was Xan’s. It turned out that learning that I didn’t really love soccer helped me feel to more confident about trying other sports or other activities that I did love. It also taught me that I did not have to do the same things that my siblings did if I didn't like them. I was learning to be my own person. After I turned seven, I started riding because I have always loved horses because I have been around them since I was little. Both my mother and sisters are riders. After my first lesson, I found out that riding was my sport!

I now ride, play field hockey, and lacrosse. I do love them...but I realized that I didn’t have an activity that represented “me” until I tried an elective in the sixth grade called the raspberry Pi elective. What’s a raspberry Pi? It is a mini-motherboard that allows one to code. I had zero clue as to what a raspberry Pi was then and was kind of nervous. Mr. Galliher was running the elective and taught it in a way that I understood, and I ended up having so much fun and also found out I was good at coding. The next year I did it again; I learned more and fell in love with it. Learning about technology and what makes cars, computers, and phones work helped me to find that I loved to build and see WHY things do what they are made to do. It is challenging but that’s what makes it fun. I have had to start over on projects many times but if I had not, I would not have learned anything. Now I love building and coding and hope to put them into use when I am older.

I have also found out I love photography and poetry thanks to Madam Desmons. Last year, I took an elective based on photography and poetry, two things that Madam Desmos loves and taught me to love and now they have become a part of my own personal journey. Now I have activities that I do because I love them and not ones that I started because my siblings have done them. It may be easier to do something because all your friends do it but my challenge to all of you is to do something you like because you like it. Albert Einstein once said “If you follow the crowd, you will go no further than the crowd. But if you walk alone, you will likely find yourself in places no one has been before.”
Written by Charlotte H.