It is a wonderful, full-circle experience getting to lead a class that helped me grow so much.’

Olivia Sherlock , Story Editor

From kindergarten to second grade, I couldn’t read at all, most of the words I knew at that time were memorized, but any word that was foreign to me I wasn’t able to sound out.

I had a teacher tell me that I was immature, distracted and different. I had another teacher tell my parents I needed to be medicated and would be lucky if I ever learned how to read. Psychologists said I would never be in mainstream classes or probably even graduate high school.

By second grade, I was diagnosed with a phonological learning disability. My brain didn’t know how to sound out words the way most people in my grade could.

I would go home every day and do flashcards with my mom to memorize words — that’s how I learned to read.

I eventually caught up to reading at grade-level just before middle school.

Even though I was finally caught up to my peers, I still hated going to school. Usually, when a kid can’t spell a word, they are simply told that “it is spelled just how it sounds,” but for me, words were frustrating. In my mind, they were not spelled how they sounded.

I was embarrassed to leave classrooms to take tests or ask to sit in the front of the room so I could focus.

It didn’t help that middle schoolers were mean and would often comment on the speed I was reading at, or the grammatical state of my spelling.

In eighth grade, my school hired a great librarian who encouraged me to start writing poems that she would read every day after school. She was the only teacher who would read what I wrote and look past the grammatical errors. My love for writing only grew from there.

When I got to high school, I enrolled in newspaper sophomore year. I idolized my teacher Mrs. Huss and the three editors who led the class. I took all their constructive criticism to heart and worked really hard that year.

I found it rewarding getting to tell people’s stories and talk to them about things they are passionate about. The work paid off my junior year when I started winning awards for my writing.

I am now Story Editor and in my third year as a member of a journalism honor society, Quill and Scroll. It is a wonderful, full-circle experience getting to lead a class that helped me grow so much.

I’ve gotten more comfortable when it comes to learning, and even though spelling still isn’t my strong suit and I’m usually the last person to finish a test, school is now something I love.

I have learned throughout my time in the Blue Valley district that being different is OK, and being able to push through challenges is what makes a strong person.

There are few things I will miss more than this newspaper staff that feels like a family — and a very real family at that. I will miss Mrs. Huss’s sarcastic “no” to every single question I ask her. I will miss the comfort of the floor in Room 450 on a sleepy day. I will miss the blurry, out-of-focus photos taken at football games. I will miss the rush I felt when my grade won the “I feel good contest” and the shame I felt losing to the underclassmen. I will miss Tiger Paws in the Newspaper back room with Nick Lamberti and Jaron Cole (before we got kicked out). I will even miss writing stories that result in bounties being put on my head.

Thank you, Blue Valley, for reading one last page of my cringy, fun and occasionally controversial writing.