Life at JTD
Student Voice

Margaret Morris '17

“Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death.” “They wouldn’t be exciting if they didn’t.” -Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl.

Beginning my life here at John Thomas Dye was one of the most frightening and exhilarating experiences of my life. Being the kind of child I was, I couldn’t stand the spotlight. Anything that challenged me to use my voice was out of the question. One would sooner spot pigs flying through a rainbow then watch me call attention to myself. The only quote in my dialogue was, “As long as I’m not the only new kid.” How would I survive the first day of school, let alone the entire year? Since I came from a public school, the world and atmosphere I was used to was completely different. Even raising my hand was a fear that seemed like a mountain I had to climb. And trust me, I was not the athletic type. That was the part that scared me to death. The exciting part was that I knew the outcome of my years here would alter the course of my life, and leave me a changed person.
How does the new kid make friends on the first day? Easy! Introduce themselves. If someone had told me that during recess, I would have laughed. I didn’t need any more friends, I had my book and a tree to sit under. Who needs handball when you have a new book at your fingertips. I would have sat under that tree and read my book until the end of my life if a special teacher hadn’t told me it was time to make friends. I was confused, but she enforced the new law. I could jump into the pages of my favorite book for two days of the week. The other three, I had to socialize. During those three days, I would ponder my options, and wait for someone to invite me into the handball court. Finally, I could wait no more. I gathered my courage and strutted right up to the handball court. Of course, the children welcomed me with open arms. Although I couldn’t call myself a professional, I thought getting hit with the ball only ten times was a good start. I laughed more in that day than I think I had in my entire life. Love and friendship surrounded me and I promised myself that I would never let that go. Gradually, the intense book reading at recess declined, but I was still very quiet. As I began gaining more friends, my life at JTD began feeling more like a close family, and less like a crazy rollercoaster ride. I have to thank my fourth grade teacher for that.

As I entered my later years at John Thomas Dye, I continued to grow and mature. This time, though, I wasn’t a loner. I started having more and more things to talk about on the way home from school. One day, the flyers for the debate club were passed out. I took one look at them and immediately knew that I wanted to try. Just the year before, I would never even dream of speaking publicly. Finally, that was different. I still remember the look on my parents face when I told them about it. They still remember me exclaiming, “It’s like sports for your brain!” Again, not exactly the athletic type. I had found my passion, and I was proud. Never was I the best debater, I was never really even close. Still, I got better at it, and I learned what it was like to speak for what I believed in. The support I felt every day while in the room pushed me even further. On the day of the first debate, I was probably the definition of a nervous wreck. Then, I started speaking. The thought that I was supporting my school while debating drove me to speak as passionately as possible, even if there was a mistake and the other team was arguing the same topic. I remember leaving that debate knowing that I wasn’t the same ten-year-old kid who walked into the fourth grade classroom on the first day. I was changed for the better and I knew that the school I loved had transformed me.
Even the little things, the things we do or say here every day matter to me more than I can put into words. In the morning, when all of our voices combine into the voice of the JTD school while we are reciting the Salutation of the Dawn is magical. After sports games, we all congratulate each other even when we have lost. Those are the things that I will take with me as I continue on my path. As I watched a young girl sing the song of John Thomas Dye at Mr. Michaud’s memorial, I understood what his legacy meant to this school. I always knew what the 5 C’s were, but I don’t think I truly appreciated what they meant until I found my way into the family of JTD. This school will forever be in my heart. I simply cannot say how much I love everyone here and how much I will miss them. I feel like this school is my home, and these people are my family. Now, I am moving on. Moving on scares me to death. But it wouldn’t be exciting if it didn’t. 

The John Thomas Dye School

11414 Chalon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 476-2811
The John Thomas Dye School admits students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs.

Located In Los Angeles, CA, John Thomas Dye is an independent school for grades K-6. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.