Life at JTD
Student Voice

Sydney Lichtenstein '15

When I first came to the John Thomas Dye School in kindergarten, I was scared. I wasn't sure what to expect from my peers, teachers, and academic lessons. I didn't identify JTD as the beautiful, nurturing environment I think of it as today, but as a tall, looming mountain that I was afraid to climb.
On my first day of kindergarten, butterflies swarmed my stomach as I walked onto campus. Only knowing a few people, I worried if I would make any friends. I couldn't even imagine reaching the mountain's peak, standing at an incredibly tall height. But, slowly, I became accustomed to the classroom routines, and although still quite shy, I made many new friends.

As my hike to the summit continued, I was given the right tools and training to make it to the top. I gained knowledge every day and became familiar with the path I had to climb. I learned about arithmetic, reading, science, and grammar, and priceless life lessons and good values were also stressed. Now, each and every one of the 5C's will be forever ingrained in my mind.

My teachers and friends also gave me the support and confidence that was needed to make my ascent. At the beginning of my JTD experience, I was terrified of public speaking. Just the thought of putting my ideas out into the world made me uncomfortable because of the judgment I thought was sure to follow. I was, of course, completely wrong- my fellow classmates were always kind, polite, and 5C's.
Over the years I have gradually gained self-confidence and respect for myself, which I learned is more important than what others think of me, and because of this, I have readily given speeches and performed in skits and plays many times at school. I'll never forget the sense of pride and accomplishment that came over me when I faced my fears.

Knowing that others had successfully climbed the mountain at JTD also made me feel more comfortable reaching amazing heights. All of the traditions at the school helped me feel more at home, some of them had even existed since the school had started. Customs such as the candle lighting ceremony, Kidnap Breakfast, and even The Salutation of the Dawn have JTD feel more like a home rather than a school, and my fellow students were like family.

Although I was taught many life skills on my climb up the mountain, one of them in particular stood out to me the most. I learned to not be afraid to fall. On my journey there were, as there always are, steep areas on the trail, and sometimes I did fall down. But, when I did, I had support from my friends and teachers to help me get back up, and I was emboldened because of this. I not only learned how to get pick myself up on my own, but I also was given the confidence to keep trying.

As I get closer to the mountain's peak, approaching the final days at my school, I look back on all of my experiences at JTD. All of the problems I had to face, ones that I worriedly stressed over, seem so small. I can see everything and reflect on my memories above the clouds, it's as if I'm on top of the world. When graduation day arrives, I will be ready to face the world. JTD has properly equipped me to face any challenge that life brings me, any mountain that I have to climb. I have grown so much, mentally and physically, since my first day of kindergarten. I have no idea what the next mountain in my life has in store for me, but I know I'll be ready. The John Thomas Dye School has taught me that I can do anything.

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.