Jane Hamilton '16
As we twisted up the hill, I felt a mix of fear and exhilaration. "Kindergarten" was a place for big kids, and now it was for me. When I stepped foot on the John Thomas Dye School campus, I felt completely at home. I could hear the exuberant laughter of kids ringing in my ears, and I could tell that there was a sense of family here like no other. It was the John Thomas Dye School that I have come to know and love. It was a place where I would learn and grow. Not only would I learn to read, write, and do arithmetic, but it would shape me into a better person with strong core values, just like the school, itself, had. Ever since my Kindergarten teachers taught me the 5 Cs, they have been permanently imprinted into my brain as a compass to navigate through life.
The next few years are filled with beautiful memories of spending the night in the beloved John Thomas Dye hall while laughing and sharing the best times with my friends and teachers at the First Grade Sleepover, performing in my first Music for Lunch Bunch, and decorating cookies on Halloween and gingerbread houses in the winter. Some of the most special memories I have had are those that come from the heart and incorporate the true values of John Thomas Dye School by giving back to others and achieve a success that is beyond ourselves. One of my first memories of this was in first grade when we raised money for The Center for The Partially Sighted. When we got the opportunity to take a field trip to the center and meet some of the people whose lives we were impacting, I felt so honored that the school gave me the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, and give back to our community. My teachers have taught me that this sort of kindness can be achieved in smaller ways, too. Whether it's inviting a classmate to come sit with you at lunch or giving them a shoulder to lean on when they are feeling down, it is this sort of kindness that I will never forget being touched by and feel proud to have touched others with.
Like the drive up the hill, my journey at the John Thomas Dye School has not been a straight path. There have been several bumps and turns along the way. In fourth grade I had to overcome a tremendous amount of adversity, but my friends and teachers believed that I could do it when I didn't even believe in myself, and that is what pushed me to persevere through it all. No matter how many times I fell, they were always right there to pick me back up, and without them, I don't know where I would be today.
The work in fifth grade got much harder than in previous years, but I felt prepared for it. My teachers had set me up for success and not only had they taught me the material that was a vital part of my curriculum but also how to learn it, too. I worked to my fullest potential to learn key concepts that were being taught, but I was no longer afraid to go to my teachers for help.
Sixth grade has been full of lasts, my last Candle Lighting Ceremony, my last Holiday Carols, and my last time celebrating John Thomas Dye School's birthday. On a recent honor I had to raise our flag, I looked out at the beautiful view we are so fortunate to have as I was reciting the Salutation of the Dawn. I could see so many different perspectives of the world, and it reminded me of a valuable lesson that I have learned at the John Thomas Dye School. There are so many perspectives in life, and the school has taught me that everything isn't one-dimensional. There are endless ways to look at things, and I now know how.
As I am cherishing my last few weeks at this beloved school I always feel reminded of a particular quote from The Salutation of the Dawn, "But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope". When I look back on my experiences here, each day I have at John Thomas Dye feels like such a beautiful dream that has given me hope for my future. I am not sure what it will hold, but I am sure that this school has prepared me for all of the challenges that I will face and obstacles that I will have to overcome.
I proved to myself that I could fly, but the John Thomas Dye School gave me wings and showed me how.