Monday, January 13, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 2: School}

If you're interested, you can read week one here.

2. Where did you go to school? Did you have any memorable teachers? What were your favorite subjects?

With friends at Snow Canyon High School's graduation, May 2005. L to R: Alyssa Winterton, me, Heidi Wittwer, Valerie Crump, Kenna Cannon, Chelsey Bybee.
     I went to two elementary schools: the first, Katz-McMillan, where I went to Kindergarten. Katz-McMillan is actually two elementary schools on adjoining properties. Honestly, I'm not sure if they share a principal or what, but I think my sister Lynnie and possibly my brother, Kenny, went to McMillan and I went to Katz. But I really, truly don't remember for sure. Anyway, my teacher was Mr. Brown and I still remember him as one of my favorite teachers. There are three relatively clear memories I have from Kindergarten: the first, that my class did a play about earth mice and space mice (seriously) and my role was Mommy Mouse. My friend Heather was tiny in Kindergarten, and I believe she was the baby mouse. We thought that was awesome. The second was that I was out sick the day we made these cool shirts for our dads for Father's Day, so Mr. Brown made mine for me. I was kind of bummed I didn't make the shirt but still thought it was cool--and my dad wore the shirt for years. And, third, there was one day my Uncle Dal and Grandparents Steel were in town. They were going to take me out of school early to go out to lunch. My Uncle went into the office to check me out, but the office ladies didn't believe he was my uncle! They made him go get my grandma before they let me come out of class. Such random memories!

    During Kindergarten, my family moved across town to Summerlin. A brand new elementary school opened in Summerlin for the next school year, so in first grade I started at William R. Lummis Elementary School. Lynnie was at Lummis that year, too. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Holmes-Gull. My clearest memory of first grade is not really school related, but I'll share it anyway. My family went to Stake Conference and Mrs. Holmes-Gull was there! At stake conference! My first ever time seeing a teacher outside of school, which kind of blew my mind. I loved Mrs. Holmes-Gull. She had an English accent and always wore a big scarf-like headband. And, most random memory yet, one day during Christmas she wore a Santa sweater that said "ho ho ho." She told us a story about her son reading the sweater in the mirror and asking her why it said "oh oh oh." I thought that was so silly.

    My second grade teachers were team teachers, Mrs. Bigda and Mrs. Hallisey--nothing in particular stands out from that year. In third grade I had Mrs. Scheele and Mrs. Leary, another set of team teachers--but these two taught on opposite days. I LOVED Mrs. Scheele and Mrs. Leary. And in thrid grade, I got to start GATE (Gifted and Talented Education). Mrs. Vincent was the GATE teacher and she remains my favorite teacher of all time. She taught me in GATE throughout third, fourth, and fifth grade. My favorite third grade memory: My best friends, Jenna Kjar and Hilary Scott, were in the class with me. Mrs. Scheele and Mrs. Leary loved us. I'm not exaggerating. At the end of the school year, they took the three of us to dinner at Olive Garden and to see Harriet the Spy because we had the most Accelerated Reader points in the class. And because we were awesome. (They really did tell us something to that effect--I'm not just making it up!)

      In fourth grade I had Mrs. Brooks. Our class published the school newspaper. We got to have three different jobs throughout the year: I was Dear Gabby, the Editor, and something else that I don't remember. Mrs. Brooks' husband was my city league basketball coach and her daughter played on my team. One time after practice my mom was going to pick me up but something came up and she couldn't make it--so I went home with the Brooks' and had dinner at their house. A little awkward, but fun, too. We had tacos, which shouldn't be significant, but it was the first time I like tacos because there was no taco seasoning on the meat!  In fourth grade I also got to go to Astro Camp with gate (and with Hilary and Jenna again). In fifth grade my teacher was Mrs. Park. She was a great teacher--not my favorite, but great. My favorite part of that year was a GATE program where we got to build a huge habitat out of plastic sheets and duct tape, then inflated with box fans. We practiced at school, then went to a regional competition. Our team was the M&Ms--Mars Martians (apparently we dropped the "and").

   In sixth grade, I started at Becker Middle School, which is on the same plot of land as Lummis--there's the elementary school, a huge park, then the middle school. My favorite teachers throughout my middle school experience were Mrs. Kelman (6th grade English), Mr. Goodwin (7th grade math), Ms. Lavarna (6th grade science/homeroom), and Ms. Annear (choir). In 6th grade in Mrs. Kelman's class we did something called the "Liar's Club." We each wrote down a short, true story from our life. Mrs. Kelman collected the stories, chose one, and chose six students to come to the front: one who actually wrote the story and five decoys. The rest of the class got to ask the six students whatever questions they wanted about the story, trying to discover whose story Mrs. Kelman read. After questioning, the class voted on who they thought was the author of the story. One day I got to be one of the decoys. After questioning, the class voted that I was the actual storyteller. Because I was just a decoy, my name got to go on the list of students in the Liar's Club, which I was pretty proud of. I was on the basketball team throughout middle school and in eighth grade we won the zone and then the regional tournament, which was a pretty big deal. Also in eighth grade I got to travel to Florida with my choir, where we spent a few days playing at all the Disney parks and performing, which was ridiculous amounts of fun.

    In ninth grade, my family moved to St. George--so instead of moving to high school I continued on in middle school at Snow Canyon Middle School. I had lived in the same house and had the same friends since Kindergarten, so I found the move to be a huge adjustment and challenge for me since I am not exactly quick to make friends. I started seminary that year and read the Book of Mormon all the way through for the first time. I prayed about the Book of Mormon and received my own witness of its truthfulness. Ninth grade was hard socially, but spiritually it was the first time I felt like I had my very own testimony. My favorite ninth grade teacher was Mrs. Shaheen, my English teacher. She was hilarious and I loved her class.

   In tenth grade I moved up to Snow Canyon High School (go Warriors!). I loved high school. I made a lot of really good friends, got involved in sports, and was on the student council my senior year. My three favorite teachers throughout all of high school were Mrs. Madden (AP English and Creative Writing), Mr. Moore (Student Council Advisor), and Mrs. Wallman (Counselor/RASK Club Advisor); perhaps the most influential being Mrs. Madden. I loved all my seminary teachers, but my favorite was Bro. Seamons. Interestingly, Bro. Seamons was later my bishop when Ryan and I moved into our rental in St. George. A very clear and quite pivotal academic memory from high school was Mrs. Madden's AP English Literature class. I had never experienced a class quite like it--her class was difficult. I'd never struggled with a class before--and I don't mean that to sound cocky or anything, just to illustrate how much her class pushed me. I actually seriously considered dropping the AP class and transferring to Honors English, particularly with one assignment that I worked on for hours and hours. But I stayed in her class and I found that I loved literature and loved writing about literature. Her class is the reason I majored in English at BYU. Another memorable academic high school moment was the Sterling Scholar competition. To just apply for Sterling Scholar is kind of a grueling process. I didn't know what category I should apply for because I hadn't really put an emphasis on any category, but I'd decided to apply for English. I was almost positive I wasn't going to win. And I didn't win the English Sterling Scholar award--I won the General Sterling Scholar award. I was shocked. Flabbergasted. Seriously. I was so excited, and my sweet friends all found me after school to congratulate me. I didn't win in the region, which was disappointing, but I was excited about the SCHS win. My senior year was a good one for academic achievements: I was voted "most likely to succeed" (super academic, ha) and I was salutatorian of my graduating class. The topic of my speech was "just do it." I was super nervous but it was a great experience for me.

Kayla and I at my graduation in 2005.
Kayla and I recreating the picture at her graduation in 2012. 
     I'd been planning on applying to several schools, but the week after I applied to Brigham Young University I got an acceptance letter--which was all I really wanted! My first semester at BYU was in Fall 2005. I clearly remember sitting in freshman orientation and suddenly feeling enveloped in a warm, peaceful feeling--I knew that BYU was exactly where I was supposed to be. I planned on majoring in English Education and planned on being a high school English teacher and volleyball coach, due largely to Mrs. Madden and her amazing English class. I applied for the education program during my sophomore year and was accepted. I quickly found, though, that while I loved my English classes I didn't really enjoy my education classes. And once we did the teacher shadowing class--which was thankfully very early in the program--I realized that I really didn't want to be a high school teacher. I changed my major to English. After an amazing class by Dr. Dennis Cutchins, I realized that I did want to teach--but at the University level. I planned to apply for the Master of English program at BYU. (Side note: the best paper I ever wrote was for Dr. Cutchins' class: Betwixt and Between: Liminal Space in the Bridge Comes to Yellow Sky." It was the paper I was most excited about and I was even able to present it at the BYU Humanities Symposium.) Over the course of the next few months, my plans changed when Ryan and I decided to start our family and when Ryan was accepted to the Master of Accountancy program at SUU, where there was no Master of English program. One day. I did decide to minor in editing, which I loved.

     My favorite BYU professors were Dr. Dennis Cutchins (American Lit), Dr. Eric Eliason (Intro to Folklore and Bible as Literature), Dr. William Eggington (English as Language and D&C), Dr. Trent Hickman (Early American Lit), My Shakespeare professor (whose name is escaping me!) and Bro. Marvin Gardner (Basic Editing Skills and Editing for Publication), and Dr. Larry St. Clair (I did not like him as an Intro to Biology professor but I LOVED him as a Book of Mormon professor)!

    While I was at BYU, I applied to be the Humanities College Studet Council Secretary. I was surprised when I was selected. The semesters I served on HCSC were a little crazy--I was taking a lot of credits and got called to be in the Relief Society Presidency in my ward--but were a great learning experience for me. I loved BYU and am so grateful I was able to study there. I hope to pursue a Master's Degree one day, preferably when my children are a little older and more self-sufficient.
Ryan, Reed, and I at BYU graduation, April 2009.


Lindy said...

Bro. Gardner was the best! And do you remember the name of the Fiction Editing professor? (We did take that class together, didn't we?) This post just made me think of how ridiculous that class was compared to Bro. Gardner's classes.

Reading this post makes me want to do this weekly post thing with you. Because I like challenges, and I definitely need something to get me to blog more often.

AnnaSchu said...

I still remember your graduation speech! And "why cow?"

Megan said...

Lindy, we did take that class together and I don't remember her name, either! I do remember that I read The Notebook for that class and was not a fan! You should do the challenge, I would love reading yours. I'll send you a Facebook message with the questions if you want.

Anna, I totally forgot about the why cow part! Haha. Good times.

Lindy said...

Yes, please do send me a message with the questions! Otherwise, I'll just write them a week later than you do. :)

And I think I remember having a conversation with you about why Nicholas Sparks is the worst.