That first year was a blur. Really the only things I remember were the late hours (6pm everyday!), the fact that I had to sweep and mop my own classroom, and the friends that I met. I can honestly say I've never gotten so close to a group of people so quickly (and I was in a sorority!) I knew that my goal was to end up in Fort Mill, but I couldn't leave my friends and my classroom kiddos.
The next year got a little easier. I actually knew what I was doing, we were all SO excited about the new building. I loved my sweet little school too much to leave it now.
We almost doubled in size my third year. I went from a team of three to a team of five! And to my surprise, I was asked to be the grade chair for second and third grade! (By the way, it's really hard to be grade chair for a grade you've never taught!) But I loved the challenge, I definitely wasn't going anywhere in the middle of SACS accreditation!
My fourth, fifth, and sixth years all run together. But I know two things- I always had a great team to work with, and my students were the best in the world.
I've spent six whole years of my life at YPA. It's a big part of who I am. I met my husband here, I met my BEST friends here, I had so many principals/academic directors/managing directors show me what support looks like, I traveled to San Francisco with the best group of ladies (and had more fun at a Mexican restaurant than I ever have), I've learned how all that hard work is worth it when a student's "lightbulb" goes off, I've seen the hardest working teachers spend countless hours trying to find the best ways to reach their students, and I've watched myself grow and change during those years (gotta keep reminding myself I'm not 22 anymore).
And at the end of my sixth year, when I saw my students reach their personal goals- I asked myself if I had met mine. I still loved YPA, but I wondered if there was an opportunity for me in my dream district. Like I told my principal, I wasn't gonna leave YPA for just any school. After the perfect opportunity presented itself, I took a leap of faith and this week I accepted a job to teach second grade at Tega Cay Elementary School. Why did they hire me? Because they said I had the experience they were looking for, and for that, YPA, I will always be thankful for you.
I'm still gonna be a part of YPA. I'll come to soccer games and spirit nights... I'll finish school before you guys next year so I might even try to do a drop in for field day or to help Ms. Wherrey with dismissal.
I'm so ready for new experiences, but I'll never forget my first "school home."