After a semester of Butler Writers, here is what I know now: do not underestimate the high schooler. They are intelligent young people who will take over what’s left and make something of it. They have feelings and history that they carry with them every day. I will never forget that now. Even on their worst days, these kids have been through stuff I have not, and they know stuff that I do not. I won’t question their intelligence or their abilities to do well. What I will do is help them in anyway I can to achieve those goals. I didn’t expect to feel that strongly about it, but I do. In that way, I feel like I know myself a little better, and that’s not something I expected to come away with—I know that I want to be the type of person who looks for the good in people, who is kind to everyone just because they deserve it. I still struggle with the idea of perfection and the fears of not getting it right, but this last day at Shortridge proved to me that these kids don’t need me to be perfect, they just want me to show up and care (and maybe bring snacks, too).
I hope I get to continue to work with the students at Shortridge because I really feel a connection to them. They’ve brought out the best in me, and they’ve asked me to really step up and be there for them. I came into this class wondering if I could be an educator, and I definitely see it as a possibility in my future. I want to see the relationship between Shortridge and Butler continue to grow—I see so many students from both schools benefiting from the future of the program. There’s a lot of work to be done, and I hope I can help in any small way!
Kaleigh Respecki is a graduate student in the MFA Creative Writing program.