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To Achieve Or Not To Achieve This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Academic excellence. It used to be a goal so treasured that nearly everyone aspired to achieve it. Today, it seems, it is all but ignored."- Keynote Speaker Cindy Elflein Jagord



When I walk down the halls of school each day it is not uncommon for me to hear comments concerning students' dislike for school. Shocked is not the word I would use to describe my feelings ... pity works better. For me, school is my second home which I love very much. Sometimes it is difficult for me to understand why people feel this way. School is too important to be taken lightly. It is our duty to go to school and learn to the best of our ability so when we get out into the business world we will be well prepared. School is much easier for me to live with because I love it. There is so much compassion inside of me for the world that I want everyone to have as much fun as I do. We are given the opportunities to make the grade and aim high. So then my question is why do people settle for average when they can strive for excellence?

During my high school years, I've sometimes gotten caught up with the whole attitude ... school's not cool. My grades have always been above average, but there have been times when I just didn't care anymore. Getting good grades came naturally so I never put much effort into my classes. At the end of freshman year, we received our report cards and I was very surprised when I saw I was sixth in my class. Something in me snapped and I realized school was no longer a joke. My grades were very good and I should be proud. I'd always taken school for granted and now, I had an incentive to work hard and try to go up in my class ranking. That has made all of the difference. Since that day, I've been working hard to strive for excellence and have strayed from the crowd because I know school is cool. That's my opinion!

I now strive for academic excellence and it is a goal I set for myself. School has had a positive influence on my life and has taught me a very important lesson. It is a quote Mrs. Lisnik has on the front of her desk. "What is popular is not always right; what is right is not always popular." School has taught me it isn't always important to follow the crowd, there are times when you have to be a trailblazer and lead the way ... be a positive influence and let others follow you. It's time to stick up for myself and be proud of my grades ... they are the things that will get me far in life. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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