We met Brittany as a sophomore in 2008 when we began teaching Coaching in the Classroom.
A young woman from a hard-working family facing some challenges, Brittany, in this phase of her life, was a free spirit in search of herself. Not following any one “look,” she colored her hair and wore a variety of clothing to express herself. Academically, she had passed few classes and accumulated few credits toward graduation. Her future looked pretty dim unless she made changes in her life.
We could see she was smart. Very smart. Capable. Very kind to a great many people, especially those she let into her trust. What she lacked was belief in herself and a support system to encourage her intelligence and skills. Her circle of friends tended to be students from similar backgrounds for mutual support – and not always good choices.
During the course of the next three years, we worked closely with Brittany at school, on Facebook, in phone conversations, and many, many texts. We talked through drama. We talked through friendships and how associations affect a person and their decisions. We talked about her family and what she was dealing with at home. We advised her what we told the classes – that sometimes you have to leave behind the life you know to have the life you want. Sometimes figuratively. Sometimes literally.
As her time with us progressed and she matured, Brittany heard the message of WUCA!
She shifted her shocking hair colors in favor of highlighting to bright shades to show her individuality.
She heard and chose the message of C + A = R.
She heard the message of understanding the viewpoints of others, asking bright, thoughtful, curious, intuitive questions.
She heard the message of identifying her passions and setting goals.
She heard the message of changing the way she looks at life.
Most importantly, she chose to act on what she heard.
Through extremely hard work, dedication, taking extra classes, getting extra help from teachers, choosing different friends or, a lot of time, choosing to be alone, Brittany chose to turn around her circumstances and act differently to gain the result she desired.
She was one of 12 high school students to participate in a deliberative dialogue on America’s Role in the World. Her comments were included in a report and video shared at the 50th anniversary of the Dartmouth Conference on U.S./Russia relations in 2010 in Washington, D.C.
She graduated on time, with her class. We were there to celebrate with her and her family. And we’re still celebrating.
Now in her early 20s, Brittany has gone on to college – the first in her family to do so. And she has a 3.5 GPA.
That’s choosing your direction.
That’s leaving the past to press on to the future.
That’s realizing your value.
That’s a star.
That’s the power of WUCA!