Today we gave our teacher a pink Power Wheel car. Everyone has that one teacher that never gave up on them. That teacher who inspired them and believed in them when they didn't believe in themselves. For me, that teacher is Olivia Moricca. I have hated school my entire life. I've struggled with ADD and as a kid I could work twice as hard and study twice as much, and still not be able to remember a single thing I read or note I took, come test time. My parents would get my grades and think I was lazy and not trying. I had pretty much confirmed for myself that I was stupid. Then I met Olivia.
I have emailed her on more than one occasion telling her I think I am not skilled enough or smart enough, and that its just too hard to single parent three kids, (one with special needs) and run a business and go back to school. "Maybe it's not the right time in my life, Olivia," and, "Maybe I should just drop out and start again when my life makes sense Olivia." One day, when I was having a particularly hard day, she stopped class and had us go around the room and say what our reason for going to school was. When it was my turn, I started to sob as I told the class my story and how I was going to school so that I could open my own school, with an attached daycare center, and scholarships, to help single mothers, and domestic violence victims have a way to support themselves and give them a chance to find their voice and their independence.
The next day Olivia had us write our "dream boards" and a day or so after that we made our "bucket lists". (A small encouraging reminder to not give up.) As we were writing, a darling little girl (the owner's daughter) came driving down the hallway in a pink power wheel. Olivia smiled and said that she had wanted a power wheel her entire life, that she had asked for one every year for Christmas and it was on her "bucket list". As I sat there and wrote my list, I thought about how I would fulfill so many of the things on my own bucket list, with the skills she was teaching me. I was learning to cut hair, but I was also learning discipline, self worth, work ethic, to have a positive attitude and most importantly, to not give up on myself or let anything distract me from my dreams. My classmates agreed that even though it might seem strange to give a grown woman a pink power wheel car, it was the perfect present to thank Olivia. We decided we would give it to her together to say thank you for finishing her Core class.
I have struggled with attention issues since I was a kid. I thought I was stupid or unteachable. Paul Mitchell has you take a test when you start to find out your learning style. Mine was spatial. (So I think in pictures and no amount of note taking or reading a book will ever make it "click" for me the way visuals do. ... Yeah, it sure would have been helpful to know that in high school.) Week after week Olivia drew colorful pictures, and did silly object lessons, and patiently answered the same question over and over again when I couldn't remember the answer the first five times. Two days ago, I got 100% on my Core Final. (Maybe the first 100% I've ever had.) Thank you Olivia for showing me that I was not stupid. I was a fish trying to ride a bicycle. We gave you a power wheel, but you gave us so much more.