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Photo ofChantalle Trinidad

On my first day of school, I was happy, sweet, shy, and nervous because it was a new start which meant meeting new people and keeping my grades up. I was starting my junior year at a brand new high school. It was 2019 and I was 16 years old. I lived in Dorchester, MA and nothing much was happening in my life. I was working at a retail store, focusing on myself, and having fun with my family and friends. I started to make new friends at the new school, until a pair of boys began picking on me. Soon, they started a rumor about me that spread throughout the school like a contagious virus. 

My grades were great at first, but when the rumor began to spread, my grades went downhill. This was when I began to skip school and ignore everyone. I became a closed-off person. I didn’t want to open up to anyone at school. At the time, I felt heartbroken. I was furious at those boys and everyone else at school that was talking about me behind my back or around me. I didn’t want to go to the school anymore because I stopped caring about my classes and schoolwork. I hated the school so much that I lost hope in myself. The only person I talked to was a friend who was in tenth grade; she was caring and supportive. I told her about what happened, and she said that it was wrong of them to start the rumor. She told me not to listen to people like that because they aren’t worth my time and energy. I ended up changing schools and was able to have a fresh start. 

I overcame the situation by having people to talk to, like my mom and my therapist. They both gave me good advice, and what they told me helped me become a better person. I learned how to ignore people who are mean and to do things that I love to help me feel better about myself and take my mind off of my stress. Because of the work I was doing, I started focusing on myself and discovering things I like to do. I like to workout, listen to music, dance, and watch affirmation videos. I also like writing about my feelings and writing affirmations for myself in a notebook. My mom and my therapist both told me to take time to heal. I also switched to a different school called the Burke, which was a good choice because my grades got better and I became a better person. There, the bullying finally stopped. 

I feel like I changed as a person overall because before I was a little too kind, but now I am still kind but I’m more protective of myself. I won’t let anyone hurt me like that again. I feel better and have more confidence than before, and I feel more positive as a person. I have been going to the gym, which makes me happier and calmer. I changed myself after what happened to me at that school. After what happened to me I stopped letting people be rude to me, and I stand up for myself now. I learned that there are always going to be rude and disrespectful people, but you can’t let that bring you down. That's how you grow as a person -- you face a lot of problems and then you learn from them. 

© Chantalle Trinidad. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.