Olivia M.

If Michigan is to be a great state, I firmly believe that we need to provide a quality education for all of its children. I’ve had the privilege of volunteering at a school in the inner city, working with children who are cognitively impaired. I say, “privilege” because after this experience I have a different outlook on how people treat others without truly knowing what they’re all about. I must admit that I was a little apprehensive at first. I was not only going into a community which was much more economically deprived than the one I grew up in, but I was also interacting with students who had a limited ability to learn. At first I pitied them, but then I got to know them. In this process, I discovered their individual personalities and abilities and realized that each one of them had something to offer. I also realized that not only was I helping them to learn, but they were also teaching me lessons about life.  

Some of my peers choose to mock and shut-out those that are unlike themselves. I have a desire to reach out to help others. That is why two years ago I joined, “Peer to Peer”, a mentoring program for students with special needs. I feel like no act of kindness or encouragement is ever wasted and can often leave a lasting impression. I also believe that a true leader includes those who otherwise might be excluded. They lead to bring out the best in everyone.

These experiences have led me to the decision to become a special education teacher. There is a critical shortage of special education teachers in Michigan. I choose to set my academic and personal goals high and work hard to attain my level of success. I know I can make a difference in the lives of others while enriching my own. Being involved in education will provide me opportunities to give back to my community within our state and further develop my leadership skills to encourage others to do the same.