When I shadowed at Aquinas as an eighth grader, I knew that this was where I wanted to spend the next four chapters of my life. To be honest, I was outraged and upset when I was told that I was going to shadow at Aquinas. Thankfully, my mom pushed me to go, and I did. I experienced something that day that I’ve never felt at any other school. I felt comfortable and welcomed in a place where I thought I was going to feel completely alone. Aquinas means hope to me. I had hope that I was finally going to be happy and comfortable at a school.
I will never forget my first day of high school. I couldn’t go to sleep until around 1 a.m. because of all the crazy scenarios I was creating about what was going to happen. I was imagining myself being late to class, staining my uniform, having nobody to sit with at lunch, and so much more. I was ready to have a horrible day, but at the same time I knew I was going to be okay. That morning I was so nauseous that I couldn’t eat breakfast. I got in the car and I was desperately trying not to throw up from how terrified I was. As I pulled into Aquinas, all of my nerves went away. When I entered the building, I was welcomed by Principal Lewis at the front door, and I felt much better. I could hear all the students laughing and talking about their summer breaks. My first four periods went by fast and I was honestly surprised that my day was going great so far. I was the most nervous about lunch because I still wasn’t familiar with everyone. Luckily, I found someone to sit with quickly and I was relieved. Everybody was extremely kind and I was shocked that I never felt alone. None of my crazy scenarios happened and I couldn’t have had a better first day. I’m happy to say that Aquinas was the first school I’ve been to where I didn’t cry on the first day.
I admire that Aquinas allows me to strengthen my relationship with God without feeling judged. During lunch at every other school I’ve been to, I used to always say a quick prayer before I ate. Other students would ask me why I was praying and some used to laugh from a distance. At Aquinas, however, I can pray anytime I want without anyone asking questions. I am so thankful to say that I am at a school where my faith matters. Aquinas gives me hope that no matter what happens in life, God will always be there to carry me through my hardships.
I’m academically challenged at Aquinas; I have to spend many hours completing assignments and studying to earn the grades that I do. I find this to be excellent preparation for college. At first, I struggled because I never had any obstacles at public schools, but now I feel accomplished knowing I put all my effort into every assignment. It’s rewarding to see the supportive comments from my teachers on my completed work. Aquinas gives me hope of an exceptional education that I know is preparing me for college.
Aquinas is more than a school. It’s a place of hope where you are surrounded by people who feel like family. I have never felt so comfortable in an environment; here I can learn, practice my faith, and also enjoy spending my time with friends. The Seniors were right at my Freshman orientation, time does fly by faster than you would have ever expected. Next year, as a Senior, is going to be bittersweet because I can’t imagine myself being so safe in a place like I am at Aquinas. Although I am anxious about what is going to happen after I graduate, I have hope that Aquinas has helped me prepare for whatever God has in store for me. I will always remember Aquinas as being the place where I found hope. This is what Aquinas means to me.