It was the first day of my second semester of high school, and I was a freshman struggling with apathy and lethargy like I had senioritis. I was exhausted by the thoughts of grade-point-averages and AP exams looming over me. Returning to school after a painfully short break was the last thing I wanted to do as I was overwhelmed by the responsibilities that I clung onto.
As the day dragged on, I found myself meandering through the hallways of my school in a half-asleep daze. Miraculously, I found my last classroom of the day and slumped into a seat. All I could think about was watching the hour hand of the clock above the whiteboard race towards the “2,” signaling the start of my freedom.
Suddenly, I was jolted from my half-slumber by a lilting “Hellooo, class!”
“I’m Dr. Cruise,” chirped the grinning lady at the front of the room, “but you can just call me Coach Cruise-y!” As laughter met her words, Dr. Cruise began her little rigmarole of her experiences as a teacher. She gushed over being able to share a favorite memoir with her students, and recounted fond memories of Socratic seminars in her class.
Throughout the semester, she filled the cold cement walls of her classroom with warmth and her vivacity. Dr. Cruise spun the tales of Odysseus with her infectious laughter and acted out each scene of Romeo and Juliet with an exaggerated flair. She turned the words of ancient storytellers that seemed so distant from our own lives into relatable everyday experiences and encouraged us to explore uncharted territories of literature.
For me, she rekindled my love of literature, and her vibrant energy reminded me why I had fell in love with words in the first place. In between the moments of unadulterated stress and panic, I submerged myself in words stitched together to evoke strong feelings and tug at the heartstrings. I escaped the mundane world of grades and tests to a world embedded in the words printed on pages.
From my second semester of high school and beyond, Dr. Cruise has supported me in all my endeavors, giving me the confidence to express my ideas. She’s helped me make time for the words and language that I so dearly love. And without Dr. Cruise, I wouldn’t be here, sitting at my desk and armed with a keyboard at my fingertips, sharing my words for the community to see.