GET TO KNOW OUR GRADE 8 STUDENTS: MADDEN A.
People can be part of many communities. For me, I am part of several different communities with many different people. The RA community is my favorite community because of the students and teachers at RA. One of my favorite parts about RA is even if you haven't had a teacher for multiple years they still stop and say hi to you in the halls. Being seen and heard at RA is what makes this community so important to me. Whether it's on the athletic field, in the hallway, or in math class with Mrs. D, I feel known and heard by my teachers and peers.

One of my favorite memories at RA is when we went to Frost Valley in 6th grade. It was my first overnight trip at RA. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was eager to see what the team-building activities would look like. On the second day of the trip, we were instructed that we were going to complete a ropes course and needed to work together to figure it out. Together we accomplished the course, listening to each other, cheering each other on, and knowing that we needed to work as a team in order to help each other and finish the course. This is just one example of how the RA community recognizes each other and forms bonds that will never be forgotten.

Just like RA, another defining part of my life has been field hockey. I have played field hockey for 9 years. I love the sport because you get to bond with teammates and coaches and you have a fun time on the field. We all play different positions and are responsible for our place on the field but form a team where we support our teammates and cheer each other on, after scoring a goal or blocking a shot. Field hockey has become a community for me where I formed friendships and celebrate other girls who in turn celebrate me on and off the field. Even after we've had a bad game we are all so grateful that we played together and we try to fix what we did wrong and improve for the next time. Being on a new team each year can be challenging but it gives me a chance to make new friends and new bonds with new coaches while holding onto the relationships I share with my previous year’s team’s players and coaches.

Through my experiences in field hockey and at RA I have realized that being part of a community where you are acknowledged and valued is important. RA has been this community for me for many years and I will always remember that this community shaped my understanding of what it means to be appreciated. Former First Lady Michelle Obama said: “There's grace in being willing to know and hear others.” I am grateful that RA has “heard” me.