For me, the biggest thrill of being a college counselor is guiding students to find their voice as a writer. One reason it is more fun for me (and beneficial for the student) to start earlier is that there is more time for the process to unfold.
One of my students, Jacob, said, "Heck yes!" when I asked if I could share this scholarship essay as an example of writing that allows your personality to shine through. The prompt was "Which elementary school teacher was most memorable or influential in your time and why?"
Ms. Ross was a cool teacher. First grade, much like every grade to follow, felt like the biggest educational leap yet. I remember using various Lego-like manipulatives to learn about fractions and singing the “Days of the Week” song (sometimes, I still have to sing it!). I recall one of my classmates,
, breaking Ms. Ross’s favorite “123
ABC” mug. Madison
apologized quickly, and though obviously frustrated, Ms. Ross completely
forgave her. I was not directly involved, but seeing this interaction gave me a
poignant picture to recall when someone wrongs me, and I am given the
opportunity to quickly forgive them. As any normal first grader would do in the
library, probably encouraged by my facetious colleagues, I wrote a letter
addressed to the principal from Ms. Ross. In the letter, written in red marker,
of course, I (Ms. Ross) informed the principal that I was divorcing my husband
in order to marry him (the principal). After I, personally, delivered it to the
front office and went dutifully back to class, the principal’s voice came over
the loud speaker. “Ms. Ross? Do you have any information about a note that was
just delivered to my office?” I could hardly contain my laughter seeing Ms.
Ross’s confusion. Without prompt, I stood up and left the room, marching
straight to the principal’s office. I cannot quite describe the feeling I had
at the time. I was joyously embarrassed, pleasantly ashamed, or even shamefully
delighted. The principal made note of the humor, and requested I not do that
again. Ms. Ross laughed about it and moved on, as only a first grade teacher