I read and write, read and write, and try to do the best I can. "I think I can - I think I can - I think I can." I never thought that the book, The Little Engine That Could (by Watty Piper), read to me by my first-grade teacher, would have such an influence on my life. But it has. I work for my grades. A smile is always on my face, and my effort is always engaged at "full speed ahead."
I never understood why I had so much trouble comprehending what I read. Finally in my sophomore year I was diagnosed with a language-based learning disability. This did not discourage me. It only made my engine work harder. I am determined to "huff and chug along" and believe that my "I think I can - I think I can" attitude could help me accomplish whatever goals I set. I have been on the honor role since I started school. This has proven to me that no matter how heavy the load or how slow the start, I can reach the top of the mountain. Every year of high school I have run for class office and can proudly say that I am vice president of my senior class. In addition, I am president of the S.A.D.D chapter at my school and have been selected by the faculty to meet with our superintendent to present a "Chem-Free" program to my high school.
My engine does not stop running. I am currently interning in a kindergarten class. I was one of 37 students chosen for a school leadership camp where I gained self-confidence and leadership know-how. I was one of seven girls chosen by the faculty to be a junior escort, and my engine smiled as I escorted a nominee for Homecoming King '94 across the auditorium stage. The following year I repeated the walk - this time as one of seven girls nominated for Homecoming Queen 1995.
But my engine really broke down when it came to the verbal section of the SAT. Here my learning disability got the best of me. But again, I climbed that mountain and reached the peak when my "I thought I could - I thought I could" mentality enabled me to work to the best of my ability in English. During my high school years I have written and rewritten, read and proofread my English assignments to maintain the grades which I can be the most proud. My SATs may not show my ability, but for the past three years I have maintained a high English average.
An engine is a leader, and that is exactly what I want to be. It has taken me three years of hard climbing to get to the top of the moutain, and I've reached it. However, it seems that every time I reach that peak, the view presents another climb, another challenge. "Up, up, up I go climbing harder" to reach the next goal I set for myself. The attitude of "I think I can - I think I can - I hope I can - I hope I can" is sure to make this next challenge a successful climb. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.