For my first post, I thought I would just go ahead and lay it all out for you. So here it is: this is my favorite thing about Groton.
It was in Third Form that I first showed an interest in lighting design. I was doing tech for the show that term: a collection of student-directed, one-act plays. After a crash course in the technical side of using the lighting board, I was tasked with lighting one of the plays—a short, maybe ten-minute comedy centered around a Scooby Doo–style gag of missing glasses. The show had maybe eight lighting cues in the whole piece, but I spent forever trying to get those eight cues right. And, amazingly, my teacher was right there with me the whole time I worked, staying with me late after everyone else had left for dinner, answering every question with more useful information than what I asked for, and just generally treating me like someone he wanted to train.
It was in Second Form that I started teaching myself how to code. After what must have been an annoying thirty minutes of looking over my dorm prefect’s shoulder as he worked on a coding problem, he gave me his textbook and told me to start working through it, asking me to come to him if I had questions. The next few weeks I made sure to get my work done before the end of study hall so that I would have time to code before lights-out, coming back to my prefect with every breakthrough and setback. The next year, when I told my new advisor that I was interested in programming, he gave me a sheet of coding problems normally meant for his Precalculus Honors Accelerated class. He challenged me to get them done, telling me to come to him if I had any questions. Over the next few weeks, we worked together to build my skills and get me to a place where I could start to teach myself some more advanced topics. Since then, I’ve only become more interested and more versed in computer science, so much so that I plan on studying it in college. And I credit my strong foundation to that prefect and that teacher who were there to support me and get me over the hump of starting something new.
I have loved and am proud of the things that I have been able to do in my four years here. I have directed two short plays, developed a mathematical model to direct wildlife preservation land acquisition, and written a computer program to visualize the three-dimensional wave equations of electron orbitals. Not only were these opportunities and projects that I would not have been able to get/do at many other schools, they were all the result of a teacher encouraging my interests and pushing me to go above and beyond the call of duty.
At Groton, there are teachers for whom, if asked to jump, I would reply “how high?” But the most rewarding experiences for me have been when I’ve decided to jump, because I know that when I do that, my teachers will take me higher than I ever could on my own.