by Katharine Judy, former student at Landmark Elementary•Middle School
Before coming to Landmark, school was a nightmare for me. Of course I had friends, but the classes were extremely difficult. I was reading almost three years below my grade level and my writing, well, it wasn’t the best. Whenever I read I couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of each chapter and the words on each page seemed to float away into the abyss. I was constantly pulled out of class for extra reading lessons while my friends read a book that I thought I could never read.
Unfortunately, the following year was a disaster. I entered middle school with my best friends and a rested mind from the summer, but then I got my class schedule. None of my friends were in any of my academic classes. That year was probably one of the worst school years of my life. Each day I left school with a dreary face and lots of homework that I did not understand. I had a special teacher who helped me when I needed it, but with that teacher came other children who were not as interested in learning as I was. Eventually, I heard I was going to Landmark. Although I was sad about leaving my best friends, I was happy to leave the difficulties of school behind me.
At Home at Landmark
When I entered Landmark the following year, I was terrified. Even though I was going into seventh grade, I still remember complaining to my mom that I wanted her to stay when she dropped me off, and until lunchtime I continued to wish she was there. I entered the dining room, the place I dreaded the most, when a group of girls asked if I wanted to sit with them. That is one memory that always sticks out in my mind; they were so welcoming and nice to me. For the first time, I felt truly at home and smart in a school environment, surrounded by fellow dyslexic students and teachers who really cared about every single child in the classroom.
I also had met a group of friends who made me feel welcome and happy again, even though I kept ditching them after milkbreak to go to the library (sorry). One of my favorite classes I had at Landmark was tutorial. My tutorial teacher and I have bonded so much over my seventh and eighth grade years and will probably continue to do so when she tutors me throughout high school. Tutorial class made me enjoy reading again, like a lot, to the point where I actually read under my desk in the middle of three science classes (which I feel guilty about now—sorry Ms. Littlefield!).
Prepared For What Lies Ahead
Next year I will be leaving Landmark. At times I am still worried about returning to public school, given my rough experience in sixth grade and how great my experience at Landmark has been. However, when I think negatively about my new school, I remind myself of all the skills and tools that I have acquired. I try to remember my old friends and how they are excited to see me come home. Also, there are many new opportunities that await me, including interesting new classes, such as screenwriting and extracurricular activities, like the tech crew. As I look back on my time at Landmark, I stand happy and prepared for the challenges I face ahead.
Article originally published in The Lantern, Spring/Summer 2017