Community can be found in many different forms. Communities can be large or small and can have different cultures as well. I came from a big public school and when I began 5th grade at RA, the difference between the two school communities was dramatic. There were moments when I realized the difference but most of the time it was almost the same.

Something that I learned from RA is that a community is more than just one person, a community is bigger than just one person. When I went to school with lots of people it was easy to slip into the shadows and put up a wall. RA shattered that wall. I went from having around 80 kids in my grade to 20. With such a small class I was put into a social place that I had not experienced before. It was almost like having a bigger family.

When I was preparing for this speech, my teacher asked “Was there a moment when you realized that it was not just about you and your friend group?” There were many moments that came to mind, but one that stood out to me was our 6th grade trip when we went to Frost Valley. The Frost Valley trip was all about building teamwork and growing together as a grade. One special part of that set of memories was the last night of the trip. It was freezing and way too cold to sleep by ourselves in the bunk beds. So we set up some blankets on the floor in the center of our yurt, laid out sleeping bags and pillows on top and then layered some more blankets, under which we all huddled together. That moment, though to some it may seem trivial, to me it felt like we had grown closer not only as friends but as a community.

There are many small moments that make up the experience of RA and there is no single moment when you realize that it is not just about you and your friend group. Gradually we come together as friends, a grade, and most importantly a community.