On May 22nd, 2014, I was handed my high school diploma and sent off into the real world. I am a student who has attended Allendale Public Schools since my very first day of kindergarten, and Allendale Public Schools shaped me into who I am today. In this school district, I have been truly prepared to go out into the real world. The teachers have taught me much that I know, but the most important lesson I learned from Allendale Public Schools cannot be taught simply in a classroom. The most important thing I learned at Allendale Public Schools, is that life is all about the people. From social skills to empathy to respect, I learned it all at Allendale Public Schools.
In my early middle school years, I started participating in after-school activities. I was a cheerleader and a member of the student council. I tried to do as many extracurriculars as possible. The teachers always highlighted the importance of getting involved in school, so when I finally did, I realized why they had always suggested it. In these after school activities, I broke out of my shell. I was an awkward middle school girl. I had tried to perm my hair which had turned into a complete disaster, and my closest friend was probably my Tamagotchi. I was weird, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I built up my social skills when I decided to join a few school activities. I learned how to make friends, and I learned how to actually talk to people. Allendale Public Schools always highlights the importance of getting involved, and it is important that every student take this chance. Activities teach kids how to be social and make friends that can last a lifetime.
Allendale Public Schools also taught me respect. The teachers were always nice and understanding, but in order to earn this kindness from them, you needed to respect them. I quickly learned in high school that I would get nowhere if I didn’t respect my peers and teachers. This trait is especially important since people will never get a job if they can’t respect their employers or co-workers. I believe that, in general, kids normally respect their parents, but in APS we learned we needed to have respect for everyone we had to work with.
The last, yet possibly most important trait I learned in Allendale Public Schools was empathy. I learned that arguing with someone you don’t agree with gets you nowhere. Instead, it is much more important to learn how to understand, to learn why and how people feel the way they do. It is okay to disagree with others; it is not okay to tell them they aren’t allowed to believe what they believe. Putting myself in other people’s shoes will get me further in life than what I would otherwise expect. Since Allendale Public Schools has a wide variety of beliefs and traditions, it is almost impossible not to learn this quality here.
Allendale Public Schools have given me so much to take away and use later in life. I’m proud to be an alumni of Allendale High School because our school district is a wonderful place to live and learn. APS teaches the most important qualities one will need when going out into the real world. Social skills are important if we ever want to make friends. Respect is important if we ever want to get a job. Empathy is important if we ever want to keep relationships with others. Allendale Public Schools isn’t only about grammar and math equations; after all, the most important thing I learned there was that it is really all about other people and how to interact with them.