by Thomas Weber
A cheeky grin and a sense of mischief. A little bit crazy, a little bit wild, and very, very bold. I wasn’t sure. With some kids, you just know, but with Angelina, I wasn’t sure.
It’s been gradual. A few comments here, a few signs there. But eventually, Angelina and I built a trust. And I came to learn that if you give Angelina your trust, she will give you more than she knows she is capable of. And this is the point. This is a girl who arrived looking for fun and will leave this school discovering that really trying to understand something can be fun, that grappling with the world can be fun, that fundamentally disagreeing with someone can be so much fun.
Recently, we’ve had a series of long talks. We are discussing idea of gender in our class and she has come to me several times with a question. Each time we have talked for well over an hour. Each time she talks, I listen, I talk, she listens. It’s a proper conversation. We grapple with history, with political correctness, with power imbalances, with generational and cultural differences, we battle over terms and meanings, concepts high and low. We debate. And at the end, we both leave with more questions than answers. A part of her hates it. And a part of her loves it. She’s beginning to grasp just how complex the world is, and she is scared and excited in equal measure. She’s beginning to realize that she carries a responsibility in her words and actions. She’s beginning to understand that there may not always be an answer. But I tell you, she is trying.
Angelina is far from the finished article. She will be incredibly confident one moment and cripplingly insecure the next. But I have seen this young woman grow more in a year than I ever thought possible. A year ago, this girl bounded into my classroom with a cheeky grin and a sense of mischief; in less than a year’s time she will bound into the world with that same cheeky grin and that same sense of mischief. I can’t wait to see what she gets up to.
Our hope for this blog series is to share the stories that don’t make the cut for formal letters of recommendation and to arrive at the core of what makes a Dalton student extraordinary. Would like to know more about our Beyond Letters series? Click the following link to read more about it ! https://www.pkudalton.com/post/beyond-letters