|Jack with Alex and other Scholars at Warren Township High School|
I tiptoed cautiously around the corner of the room. Entering the room gave me butterflies in my stomach, but they quickly diminished as I shook his firm hand and heard his hearty laugh.
I assumed that meeting Mr. Schuler would be a casual experience where we would laugh occasionally, hear what we should expect to see in the future and discuss how to be successful in the program. However, it was much more than that. His words were not like something you would read in a fortune cookie; they were genuine and thought-provoking. The part that astonished me the most was when he said his performance in his earlier years of school was less than average. I had assumed that Mr. Schuler was an academic prodigy. He mentioned how he was barely able to wriggle into high school due to the fact that his teacher recommended he stay back a year. His mother fought until she won the right for him to move on to high school. Mr. Schuler’s struggles showed us the importance of persistence in education.
As he entered high school, he continued to lack academically. Miraculously, one day his teacher politely approached his home and asked if he could talk to Mr. Schuler’s parents. I thought the worst; perhaps he would have to be in remedial classes or something similar. I was pleasantly baffled to hear that he managed to get a perfect score on a very important math test. In that moment he had an epiphany about the importance of education, and as he spoke I had my own. I realized that people have a tendency to assume that those who struggle academically have no future in education, but Mr. Schuler’s story showed that people can surprise you and that anyone has the potential to be a Scholar. I also learned that it isn’t how you start but how you finish. The path of the Scholar never ends; the path just has more intersections and forks in the road.
As Mr. Schuler spoke, I noticed how the mural of our logo, the Schuler tree, stood out behind him. I quickly pictured him as the embodiment of the Schuler tree. As I thought more I not only saw him but everyone else in the Schuler community. I envisioned Mr.Schuler as the trunk of the Schuler tree, then the Schuler School Directors and the Scholar Coaches as the branches and myself and the other Scholars as the leaves. Just like a tree, we continue to gain new additions, and we function best when we support one another. We’re a community but most importantly we’re a big family.