What is the measure of success or achievement? Is it as easily defined as the difference from the beginning and the end, or is it something more abstract—such as the magnitude of the path taken. Or, is it something even less visible and more intrinsic? Regardless of what is used to measure success, we ultimately see the results in the foundation that has been laid. In academia, regardless of how large the scholarship or how prestigious the college, they are merely the results. As C.J. Heck wrote, “We are all products of our environment; every person we meet, every new experience or adventure, every book we read, touches and changes us, making us the unique being we are,” and for the past four years Harding Charter Preparatory High School has been my environment.
The environment at Harding has provided me and many others with unparalleled experiences, both within the school, as a school representative, and outside the school. I personally have held the position of varsity captain or co-captain for two separate athletic teams as well as a captain on the school’s speech and debate team. With recommendations from my teachers and the administration, I was selected to attend Boys State. Additionally, in my senior year, I finished my Eagle Project with Harding Charter Prep as the beneficiary of my project.
These opportunities would likely have been much more difficult to arrange or realize at any other school. First and foremost, it is Harding’s faculty and its ability to operate independently that create an environment conducive to not only an education, but even more importantly, to learn—because the two are not the same. When politics are taken out of education, schools such as Harding can act independently and achieve higher standards than what is expected.
William Ernest Henley wrote, “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” We are ultimately the makers of our own destiny and fate and we are the ones who determine our level of success. It is school and our education that provides us with much of the foundation and tools for our future successes. The measure of success is itself not so much as important as the journey to it and that journey starts with an educational and learning environment, and my own came from Harding Charter Preparatory. Now I look ahead to the next part of my journey at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
This month, thousands of high school students will graduate from charter schools across the county. We are so impressed by everything that these students have accomplished and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Check back here every day to see a new charter school graduate in our 30 Days of Grad series. Want to share your story? Join the conversation using #30DaysOfGrad.