We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofCooper Purl
This story starts back in 2015 when I was 9 years old: I just finished fourth grade and my mom informed me that I was going to be moving for the first time. This move entailed that I was going to say goodbye to friends that I'd come to know for the past 5 years. Moving to my new home was a new experience for me: packing everything, unpacking it, and getting used to my new house, but I was exposed to a new way of life because I had a dog I could take care of for the first time. Her name was Josie and she was an Akita. I was also able to get up and ride my bike to school everyday, go play with my friends on a playground that was part of our neighborhood, or even just go down to the nearby shopping center and hang out.

School was a little bit of a more difficult challenge to tackle as the new kid that had to come in and try and find my way into any friend group that would accept me and that I kind of meshed with, but ultimately, I found my spot there and I was getting pretty comfortable. The group I became comfortable with was a unique one. None of us really had similar interests as a whole, but instead, we all had similar interests with a few other people in the group. These interests stemmed from video games and reading to sports and gymnastics. But at the end of the year, I was told I would have to move again. I was going to have to say goodbye to friends. Again. The realization that I had to relive this hit me hard.

Then I moved to Salem, which is where I am now. Salem was a much smaller community than both Newport News and Virginia Beach, so the change in size was new to me. The events Salem held were also much different, like having the Color Run 5k, Relay for Life, or the Drumstick Dash in nearby Roanoke. In addition, I was closer to family than I had ever been. Everybody here was more accustomed to outdoorsy activities like hiking and expressed a greater interest in sports, while everybody in the previous two cities were more indoor people. Being at school was going to again be a challenge, but ultimately I ended up finding the place I wanted to stay for the next few years until graduation. 

Looking back on my experiences, I've now realized that I used to think of the moves as a negative thing and now I look at them in a more positive light. How they've changed me as a person with new influences to really change my view of how I saw the world. I kind of grew up as a person and started understanding how the world works. I understand the reasons behind why I had to do the moves that I did. My first time moving came about from my mom seeking better working conditions from her boss and peers as she didn’t like how her current boss was running things, and my second time came from my, at the time, step dad's wish to get out of the city and move to Salem because he enjoyed it more. Now, I fully comprehend how they've bettered me as a person and how I'm a different person than I would have been had I never moved. 

© Cooper Purl. 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.