student working on a laptop

Jack Cannon '18

High School Diploma

jack cannon esssay“John Cannon,” my name echoed through the gym as I walked across the stage to receive my high school diploma. I finally had it.

“Jack, come with me and bring your bag,” my seventh-grade art teacher said. As we walked out of the class, all I could hear were the quiet whispers of my fellow classmates. As we were walking, my teacher explained that I would no longer be taking art, but instead I would have to work on my reading and writing skills. My heart sank as I could not imagine missing one of my favorite classes to work on something that made me want to drop out of school. We eventually made it down the cold, damp hallway to a tiny room, with an even smaller old lady.

“Jack, this is Mrs. Sever,” my art teacher said, as he bolted back out the door.

Mrs. Sever did not even look up from her computer screen when she pointed to the seat across from her desk. Right away, she began explaining what we would be doing. I am sure there was some form of an agenda, but all I remember hearing was that we would be reading and writing.

Life-Changing Decision

The class did not help, but I made it through the rest of the year. Just two months later, I made the choice to commit to a daily commute of two hours to my new school, Landmark, in Beverly, Massachusetts. My new school not only helped me with reading and writing, but they also taught me several other important time management and organizational strategies. Not until after my first year at Landmark did I realize how much progress I had made. Through their small classes, I learned to advocate for myself, and I began incorporating the necessary academic and life skills that I would need in the future. During my sophomore year, I became a resident, sacrificing time with family for a better education. Becoming a resident was extremely helpful for me because it allowed me to get involved in activities on campus and meet new people. My senior year, I was invited to move to an upperclassmen dorm, but I decided to stay in the underclassmen dorm. This allowed the staff in my dorm to look upon me as a role model for younger kids while giving me greater responsibility.

My high school diploma is not just a navy-blue booklet with gold lettering or sheet of fancy paper with my name written on it and signed by the headmaster. To me, my diploma symbolizes hard work, never giving up, and constantly proving the teachers and other people who said I would not graduate wrong. Landmark taught me to treat my learning difference as an advantage instead of a disadvantage. Looking back at where I started in that small classroom, I did not believe that I could have made it to where I am today, and I know I would not have made it without the help and support from Landmark.

Jack Cannon graduated from Landmark in 2018. He wrote this essay for an English class at Dean College.