I was never officially told I “could not learn,” I just knew I could not learn. I was the student who got okay grades only because I could memorize the work. I could memorize everything; but I actually understood nothing. I was an average student with average grades but inside, I felt “dumb.”
I enrolled at HELP Miami in the 4th grade. I felt welcomed as soon as I walked in the door. Beginning of the school year standardized tests put me at a low 3rd grade level so I had a lot of work ahead of me to catch up.
HELP Miami is different from other schools in the sense that the teachers actually care about your learning and understanding of the material being taught. Students are expected to be able to define words, and if there is a problem understanding something you are directed to look over the words and find the one(s) not understood and look them up in a dictionary.
This method made me become VERY determined! I wanted to learn and I wanted to learn to do things right! I ended up putting forth my maximum effort and this made me feel very good about myself. My attitude was reflected in very high test scores so the principal contacted my parents suggesting I enter high school a full two years early.
I remember that I always struggled with math. I just did not understand it. High school math was a challenge BUT I took it on fully. I would sit at Nancy’s (the most amazing teacher I have ever had) desk EVERY DAY. If I got something wrong or did not understand something, she would help me work it out (even if she had to repeat herself over and over). She made sure I understood the words, the procedure and that I could then apply what I had covered. I sat with Nancy every morning for a full school year and feel this attention and care led to the fact that I was the only student passing math when I went to a university.
I am currently a seventeen year old sophomore at the University of Denver. I am completing requirements in order to transfer to nursing school. Once I earn my bachelor’s degree, I will attend a graduate program and become a neonatal nurse.
I am very thankful HELP Miami believed in me.