Personal Essays Cause Students to Dig Deep

Last Friday, the Class of 2024 participated in a long-standing MICDS tradition: presenting personal essays to their advisory and family members.

Each year, 8th graders spend time reflecting on personal experiences and their feelings before crafting essays to share what they’ve learned. They have studied different forms of essays in their English classes—descriptive, narrative, expository and persuasive—and selected one to guide their work. Over the course of several weeks, as students worked to tell their stories succinctly and emotionally, they received guidance from their teachers.

Each essay serves as a letter from the author to the audience, a monologue about something the author felt compelled to share. During the presentations, students’ topics varied broadly from struggling to maintain a native language after moving to the United States to learning how to harness the power of attention deficit disorder to become their best selves. Students shared stories of overcoming sports injuries and what it was like to go to a new school. Parents and classmates learned more about each student through their essays.

Eighth Grade English Teacher Darrett Thompson said, « I am so grateful that the talented young adults of the Class of 2024 opened up their lives and shared their hearts with the community. Each student worked hard to share personal experiences and feelings, and they all provided lessons for us to learn and grow from. »

Camden Miller ’24 talked about how 8th grade is an important time in life where children still need their parents. He said, « Everyone fails, nobody’s perfect. As you’re facing life’s challenges, it’s important to remember to learn from your mistakes, as it’s the only way you’ll grow. Don’t give up, and keep pushing forward. You have time to grow. And parents, I hear phrases like, ‘Where did the time go?’ or ‘Time just flew by.’ But you have to remember that even though it feels like you’re running out of time, this truly is the time where we need you the most. As we take this leap forward into being independent young adults, this is your second opportunity. You still have time. This is a second opportunity to teach your children how to walk, how to face the challenges ahead. »

In her essay about her transition to MICDS from another school, Zoe Zlatic ’24 shared, “I started to become the person I truly wanted to be: a challenged, confident, and grateful human being. I was—and still am—challenged each and every day academically, socially, physically, and musically. I am challenged to push myself further and harder, as far as I can go. I’ve learned to look a challenge in the eye and give it a wink. I have also learned how to be confident.”