My life has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs, turns and twists; but, ultimately it has brought me to where I am. All my life, in the back of mind, I have had it in me to be a teacher. I want to impact future children the way past teachers have impacted me. That is my main goal in life. I believe that being at Manchester College will aid me in fully reaching that goal. Life will throw upsets, joys, and possibly mind-blowing punches at you-but what you learn from them, is what really matters. That is the motto I live by.
My name is Stephanie Anne Griffith and I entered this world in Kendallville, Indiana on December 1, 1990. I was born to Jay Griffith and Rhonda Bruce. They are currently divorced; my mother lives with her boyfriend, and my father has been re-married for the past twelve years. ‘Complicated’ is the best descriptive word to label my life. I have four brothers whom all have different fathers; and, I also have a stepsister from my stepmother’s previous marriage. Although my life is/has been complex, it is still my life. Family is my rock, my foundation, and I love every member of it more than any words could ever explain. I have had joys, sorrows, accomplishments, disappointments, and every gamut of emotion under the sun-so here is my story.
Much of my early childhood is a blur. The only event that significantly sticks out is when my baby brother, Nickolas, died at two months old. One night I got out of bed to check on him, but when I nudged him he simply laid there. I got scared and went to wake my parents. We rushed him to the hospital but, there, he was pronounced dead of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I was five when this occurred. My parents’ already rocky relationship finally hit its breaking point when that happened. Not long after, they got divorced and I proceeded to live with my mother but stayed with my father every other weekend. Some people may look at this as sad or unfortunate, yet it was the best option for all of the parties involved. It made me who I am today, and it made me grow up much quicker than other children.
My oldest brother, Devin, who is three years my senior, was my nemesis as a child. Nothing in this entire world could have made us get along. When I began to walk, stumbling everywhere, he would deliberately stick his foot out to trip me. Not only that, but when we would play Hide and Seek he always made me hide first so that he could lock me in the closet. Having a brother like that definitely made me a tough little girl. Once I got old enough, I held my own. When he had girlfriends over, I would be the most embarrassing little sister I could be. Thankfully, the war between us died down as we got older. Once we were both in high school we considered each other as friends. Currently, we are extremely close and talk all the time. He now has a son, Nathaniel, who is one year old. That boy is my life; I love him immensely.
In elementary school, my family moved around a lot. Although making friends was never an issue for me, I still had to create new friendships every year until middle school. Once we moved back to Kendallville the summer before my fifth grade year, we were there to stay. I attended Kendallville Middle School my sixth through eighth grade years. In sixth grade, I took Algebra and passed with straight A’s. Math has always been my forte. I was awfully proud of that because not many schools had the opportunity to offer Algebra to sixth grade students; but, mine did. Also, I was involved with the volleyball team and cheerleading squad. I loved both equally as much so I was constantly at practices. There was a ton of “middle school drama” but it was honestly one of the most fun chapters of my life. It was more awkward than high school for me because that is the time when I was discovering myself and who I was.
I know I just said that middle school was more awkward than high school; but, I’m not saying it didn’t have its downfalls. Freshman year was the best. Everything was fresh: new school, new boys, new friends, new schedule, everything. I played volleyball for the school team, expanded my circle of friends, and created lasting relationships with my new teachers. Yet, once the newness wore off, it was just school again. That following summer I tried out again for volleyball, and after attending every possible meeting, practice, and conditioning, my coach gave me some lame excuse for why I did not make the team that year. I was crushed; volleyball was my life. That was the start of my downward slope to sophomore year. It was considered a “black hole” in my book; the absolute worst year of my life and I cannot even explain why. The whole time I was sort of floating through, not really there. That all changed when my junior year came. I started getting involved in school activities again, and things started looking up. My senior year was a tie with ninth grade. My peers and I were the “big dogs”, leaders of the school, and we loved it. My most memorable experience of high school was that year, in Cadet Teaching. It is basically the same exact thing as Student Teaching in college. I worked in a fourth grade classroom for three and a half hours every day until school ended. This experience solidified my decision to become a teacher. I loved everything about it, even the bad stuff, and the bad days.
There was one moment that will touch my heart forever. This was that “teacher” moment you always hear about. I got the opportunity to work independently with a student struggling with reading. Each day we spent thirty minutes practicing punctuation, tone, meaning, pronunciation, etc. and after words, we would go through the book he chose and apply those lessons. Since we did this every day, I wasn’t able to grasp that he was learning anything from this. Not until report cards came. The teacher I was a Cadet for kept me a few moments later than usual one day and she sat me down for a talk. She pulled out Jacob’s progress sheets and report card, and told me that he went from a D- up to an A- in reading that grading period. I sat there dumbfounded because I had no idea I had the ability to do this. I created my own lessons and plans by myself, nobody helped me with this because Mrs. Maag gave me full reign over the situation. The next day, Jacob walked into the room, and threw his arms around me. He leaned back, with the biggest smile on his face, and said, “Thank you, Miss Steph; I could not have done this without you.” My heart melted. I became a teacher at this point.
Now this brings me to, Why Manchester College? To be honest, I had not even heard of the school until part way through my senior year. Since I decided to pursue teaching, I had to narrow my choices down to schools that were known for my intended major. I caught wind of a local scholarship for the school, so with burning ears, I spoke with my councilor. After looking into it, I decided to take a college day to visit campus, and that was when I fell in love. Everything about it pulled me in: the small campus, the diminutive class sizes, the helpful faculty and staff, and the homey feel it omitted. That day, I was sold. Moreover, I loved the fact that Manchester College is utterly concerned with the education of its students. For a nerd like me who actually enjoys school, that was an amazing attribute. So far I have done anything but regret my choice. It has been everything I thought it would be.
There is so much to know about me. I am happy, sad, jealous, angry, enthusiastic, patient, remorseful, kind, etc. at some point-but all of those emotions make up Stephanie. Although I have had some rough patches in my life, as well as smooth ones, they have steered me to where I am today. I could hope for nothing more than to become a teacher that leaves imprints in the hearts of young children. It is my dream, and I believe I have the ambition and drive to make that happen.