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Latin • Temecula Preparatory School: Bryanna Vaughn This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It was about a month into the school year, and I was struggling. I had awful grades and was overwhelmed by my intense schedule. That week I had a history essay and an Academic Decathlon presentation due on the same day, and I hadn't even started. This was in addition to my normal workload and play rehearsal every day after school.

By Wednesday I was on the verge of a breakdown. I had made it through the first two periods, but as I entered my third period class – Latin – I was using all my strength to hold back tears. We had a test, and everyone was scrambling to get in some last-minute studying. I had a culture question and got up to ask my teacher.

Ms. Bryanna Vaughn is my crazy, wiry, redheaded teacher, who the year before had been my Academic Decathlon coach. She is sassy and funny, besides being one of the best teachers I've ever had. We have similar personalities, so she knows me pretty well. When I walked into class, I had been completely silent, while everyone else had been extremely loud. I normally am loud too, so Ms. Vaughn knew something was wrong.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“I'm fine,” I said with a little light laugh and a weak smile. I didn't think she would want to hear about my petty problems. So I sat down and started my test.

I had stressed myself out so badly that I completely blanked on the test. I messed up quite a few simple things I should have known. Ms. Vaughn asked if anyone had questions about the test after we turned it in. When I asked a question, I realized I had made a pretty big mistake. That was just the cherry on top of my awful day. However, I was still determined not to cry.

“Hey, what's going on? Are you all right?” Ms. Vaughn asked when she noticed my reaction to her answer.

I just nodded. She asked me come up to her desk and go over my test with her. When I got to her, I just lost it. My resolve to not cry melted like snow, and I broke down in front of the whole class. It was so horrifyingly embarrassing I could have just died! Ms. Vaughn was wonderfully kind about it though. She wrapped me in a big, stress-relieving, understanding hug.

I ended up staying during break to tell her what was going on. I told her everything I had been struggling with socially and academically. I had too much going on but felt pressure to accomplish everything.

“If you feel like you need to drop something you should,” she told me. “I can help you make a pros and cons list to figure out what you want to focus your energy on.” Somehow I was able to persevere without having to drop anything, but I did make the decision, with Ms. Vaughn's help, to opt out of the next play and focus on Academic Decathlon and school.

Mrs. Vaughn listened to all the drama I had experienced since freshman year and gave me advice on my friendships. She was somehow able to get me to spill everything – and to a teacher no less! She was so incredibly understanding, even telling me about some of her own problems. She encouraged me to come talk to her whenever I needed to, saying she would do what she could to help.

My Latin teacher is the lifeline I need at this point in my life. She allows me to vent and bounce ideas off her. She helps me with important decisions and understands where I'm trying to go with my life. I now have the assurance that if I ever need help she's there, and that means everything to me. Thanks to Ms. Vaughn, I just might survive this year.

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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