How I’ve Made Eighth Grade One of My Best Years Yet
STUDENTS | April 22, 2022
How I’ve Made Eighth Grade One of My Best Years Yet

By Christin M., eighth-grade student at Kellman Corporate Community Elementary School

This year, my school decided to have a student council for the first time in a while. I knew that I wanted to run. I diligently prepared my campaign materials and worked on draft after draft of my speech. I got up in front of my peers and shared my vision for our school and why the qualities I have were a good match for the responsibilities of being a student leader. 

I ended up not winning the election, and that could have caused me to check out. But I’ve grown too much over the past few years to let that happen. I decided that I still wanted to be part of the student council, and I’ve taken on the role of gathering feedback from students so that we can continue to be a better council day after day. 

My vision for my school is that the environment makes students feel safe and that all students know that there are adults at Kellman who will hear them out and always be accessible when they need someone. 

This is extremely important because elementary school can be a roller coaster. I’ve been at Kellman since first grade, and some years have been smooth and others have been more difficult. Fifth grade was calm, and then sixth grade was pretty rough. 

In sixth grade, I felt like I wasn’t focused. My performance was dropping academically, and I was struggling mentally. After getting in trouble for something one day, I had my first conversation with Ms. Brighid, my school’s restorative justice coordinator. We had a great talk that day and have been close for the past three school years.

While I’m glad to be back at Kellman, learning from home for a bit gave me some time to self-reflect. I knew that I could better myself, and I wanted to return to Kellman as less hot-headed and more social. 

Now, I’m an eighth-grader who will be headed to Northside College Prep in the fall. I feel like this year has been similar to fifth grade as my strongest years at Kellman. I have a great group of friends. We bring fun energy into the classroom and have lots of inside jokes with each other. Outside of school, we love playing Roblox together. And Ms. Brighid always lets us use her office when we need to talk and get things off our minds. 

I’ve changed so much, and now I feel like my peers see me as the smart student who always gets their work done first, and the teachers and staff at Kellman see me as calm, kind, and hardworking. 

Having these qualities is the result of being patient and having the drive to improve my social skills. It can be tempting to want to pursue the quickest solution to your challenges, but then you might feel all over the place. You might think the hardest solution is best, but it might make you feel even more frustrated. 

When you think deeply about the obstacles that you have to overcome, you can find the right solution, especially if you’re willing to accept the support of those around you. 

And there’s always room to keep growing. I played volleyball at Kellman for less than a month before I dropped out. That’s not going to keep me from wanting to pursue a sport in high school. I was cast in The Wiz in sixth grade before it was canceled due to COVID-19. That disappointment isn’t going to hold me back from pursuing theater in the future.

My favorite subjects are reading and writing. Every morning, we journal in response to a specific prompt. Recently, I wrote about a day in my life that I will always remember. I went to Disney World with my mom and dad and had the best time of my life. I met so many princesses that day. 

Writing about a memory that happened so many years ago makes me think about the future. There will be days in high school and beyond that match or exceed the joy of that Disney World trip. There will be days—and maybe even full years—that won’t be my best. 

But, if I’ve learned anything from my time at Kellman, it’s that life will be a roller coaster no matter what. It’s up to you to celebrate your successes and keep persevering through your low points. You may not win every election, but you can always find a way to make a positive impact regardless. 

Christin is the only girl among four siblings; she has an older brother, a CPS senior, and two younger brothers. While she hasn’t decided on a potential future career yet, she believes she wants to stay in Chicago because of her close relationship with her family.