By Emma Hiott ’27
Before coming to Landmark, I felt like there were two sides of me. Part of me was shy and sad because I felt like I was stuck in a corner and unable to learn at my school. My peers made fun of me because I could not read a word in English. It was hard to have someone laugh at me for something that I could not control. I was a fifth grader who dreaded going to school each day. The other part of me, though, was happy when I was with my family, hanging out with my friends, and wrestling, a sport I am passionate about. I wanted my home life and school life to be places where I could feel happy, but that is not how it was. On March 13, 2020 school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 10 days later I learned I would be going to Landmark School in the fall. I knew Landmark was a school for kids with dyslexia, and I hoped that it would be a better place for me.
My first week at Landmark was amazing for many reasons. I was introduced to all the staff and to my teachers, who were super nice and helpful. I could see that they cared about me and wanted me to succeed. After my first few days at Landmark, I could feel the sense of school dread start to disappear, and I began to feel happy not just at home, but also at school. In the first week, I learned that my tutorial class was unique and I was the only student in it. Everyone has it every day and mine was designed just for me. I didn’t have to get pulled from another class, like I did at my last school. This made me feel like all of the students were on the same playing field and I didn’t feel left out, but included. My classmates were very nice and kind to me and helped me find my classes. I could relate to my classmates because no one had to shy away from asking any questions of each other. We were all there for a reason and were all working on learning new skills individually and together.
Looking back on my past school experience, it felt like I was walking around in the dark. I had no one to guide me, and I felt very much alone. Now, at Landmark, my fellow classmates and teachers have acted as flashlights and have led me out of a dark time. Because of them, I can see the light and have more hope about my future and all that I will be able to accomplish at school.
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This story was first featured in the Fall/Winter 2020 Lantern Magazine.