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My Journey Through Grammar School

Posted by Isabelle Martin '28 on Jul 21, 2021 4:36:51 PM

Just a few years ago, I dreaded coming to school.

Fear is a weird thing because when you talk aloud about your fears, they rarely make sense. My fear was simply talking to people. To most people, this seems like a strange thing to fear, but there was a reason behind my shyness. It didn’t come from anyone bullying me or being mean to me. It was a little voice inside my head that tried to convince me my identity came from my mistakes. But through my experiences in Grammar School,  I not only know my identity comes from Jesus Christ, but I also believe it is true.

Martin-on-Pioneer-Day-at-TableI first came to Caldwell in the first grade. I made some good friends and then one of them moved away. When second grade started, I made even more new friends, the ones I have today. Although I had friends, I was still shy at school. 

Then life took a turn. My parents decided my brother and I should try our local public school. (My parents still regret this decision!) We all quickly realized there is no place quite like Caldwell Academy. I still remember Christmas when I was in third grade. My mom and dad wrapped up boxes of official Caldwell uniforms for my brother and me to unwrap. I was going back to Caldwell and I was so excited!


But when I returned I expected it all to be perfect. However, that inner voice would tell me that I wasn’t good enough, and most days I believed it. I was still terrified to talk and all my old friends had made new friends. Where was I going to fit in? Finally, I found the courage to tell the little doubting voice to be quiet. I reconnected with my old friends and even made some new ones.

While I was finally building great friendships, I still had two little problems: math and Latin! So, I started working harder, stayed after school for math tutoring, and I caught up. But that little voice still popped in to say I wasn’t smart enough and I remained shy. When fourth grade started, I was scared and grumpy all the time. I was upset with myself because I watched everyone around me have fun and I just couldn’t. All I felt was insecurity and defeat. 


My mom and dad helped me through this time and I began feeling less overwhelmed. Things were looking up and then, 'Boom!' A worldwide pandemic forced everyone to stay home and everything to close. As my classmates and I learned how to navigate online learning and I had to be taught by my mom, (she should really stick to first grade) I began to realize we aren’t meant or created to be alone. I thought since I was shy and overwhelmed at school, I’d be okay at home, but I wasn’t. I missed my friends and my teacher.

After the last Zoom meeting, I told my mom each Zoom class reminded me of all I was missing. I was so focused on the bad and listening to the little voice that spoke negative things. I wanted a redo. I wanted to take time to see the good. I realized how much I needed Caldwell. I needed the teachers, my friends, and I even needed even math and Latin.

And now, I have completed the fifth grade. Somehow throughout the year, I began having more fun. I am often able to shut off the voice that wants me to dwell on mistakes and shortcomings. 

Martin,-Miles,-Eliza,-FriendGrammar School has changed me. You probably don’t know this, but thanks to you, my classmates, teachers, and the administration, I look forward to each day. Instead of wanting to go home, I want to stay. Thanks to Caldwell and my parents, not only do I know my identity rests in Christ, but I am also learning to believe it! I am so glad to be at Caldwell, and I’m excited about the Dialectic School. I will never forget my time in Grammar School, and I am so blessed to be a part of a place that is so hard to say goodbye to, even if it’s just for summer break!

Isabelle Martin '28 is a rising sixth-grade student at Caldwell. She delivered these remarks at Caldwell's 2021 Fifth-Grade Promotion Ceremony.


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Transitioning to Middle School: A Parent's Toolkit Webinar

Topics: Classical Education, Primary Education, Spiritual Life, Christian Education