by Haley Lemay
My sophomore year was a rollercoaster of emotions. I was scared of starting at Arrowhead High School; it was bigger than my middle school. I don't do well with meeting new people and I had a hard time keeping up with grades. When I walked into my English 9 class with Mrs. Markano, I was terrified. Meeting new people, meeting a new teacher, it was scary to me.
I was nervous starting the second semester with a new English teacher. Would the teacher be the same? Would having Mrs. Markano be completely different than having Mr. Johnson? I had those questions when walking into the classroom. The bell rang and I was nervous with every second.
Suddenly, Mrs. Markano got up and smiled. It was a smile I’ll remember forever, that smile made me realize I didn’t have to be scared about meeting new teachers. She had us do ice breakers with the people around us. It wasn't cliche ice breakers, it was stuff to help us get to know each other.
I had fun in an English class and I didn't need to force myself to like the class. I looked forward to going to her class; we did these research papers. I had to research a topic and then make a paper out of it. She made me realize writing isn’t just about making something creative, you can make your own writing about something that you think is important that people should learn about. She made me like writing and I’ll always be grateful for that.
About two months into the semester, I was going on this trip to Washington D.C. for a club. It was my first time going on a big trip during the school week. I was nervous about my classes and the homework. A week before the trip, I asked my teachers what we were doing that week and what I needed to get it done. Most of my teachers said the homework should be done next week. When I asked Mrs. Mankano when I should get all my homework done, she said, “Don’t worry about it; we can work it out when you get back.”
When she said that to me, it felt like an elephant stopped sitting on my chest. I got back from Washington D.C., I was doing my best to keep up with the school. I went back to school on Monday, “Mrs. Makano, is there something I need to get caught up on?” I had most of the research paper done before I went to Washington D.C.
She said, “You just have to start writing your paper. You're doing great.”
At that moment, I was feeling good, but the next few days went downhill. I got very sick and I only went to school for half a day—this was in 2020, so it was the Covid year. When I went to school for the half day, I asked Mrs. Markano to go to the health room. When I got there, they said they had to send me home.
I went back to class, “I’m going home. Should I keep working on the paper?”
“Yes, I hope you feel better.”
I’m very thankful to her. I was stressed out about getting my homework done and having this trip during the school year. I will never forget her kindness not only to me and everyone. She will always be one of my favorite teachers, even if I only had her for my second semester of high school—which is when we were put on lockdown.