“Are you excited, Cruz? It’s your first day of school today!” That’s how my mom woke me up on the scariest day of my first-grade life. It didn’t make sense. How could I have totally forgotten that summer break was over and school was starting? Once I got over that shock, then came the car ride to the first day at Hanalei Elementary School. When we arrived, I had to get out of the car and make my way all the way across the big field in front of the school to my first-grade classroom… Changes are a normal part of life, but that summer, my family and I had experienced changes that left me not even realizing that summer was over. Let’s start at the beginning. The previous July, my family had taken a vacation to the island of Kauai. We never went on vacations, so my brother and I were ecstatic! During our trip, we stayed in a condo on the North Shore. We had so much fun; we tried new foods, went to different beaches, took surfing lessons, and lots of other tourist activities. The vacation went perfectly...so perfectly, in fact, that my parents decided that we should move there! The process of moving was strange. My mom went home to New Mexico with us, but then left for Kauai right away to start getting us set up. The rest of us stayed behind so we could pack up our belongings and begin to say goodbye to our friends and family there. This worked out kinda odd with my classmates. Let's just say I don't think they were as happy as I was; I’m still not sure why they acted like they did. Once we were all done packing, we said our final goodbyes to whatever wasn't in our many bags and left for the airport. The flight was long, and at one point, I started crying even though there was no turbulence. I was scared I would hate it on Kauai. But all my fears went away when my mom picked us up at the airport with my brother's and my favorite snacks, and we drove to our new home. The fears were disappearing, or so I thought. This brings us back to where we were, with me making the treacherous journey across the huge grass field in front of the school to my first-grade classroom. Once I was at the front door of the classroom, I stood there for what seemed like hours worrying about the day to come. Eventually, I finally made up the courage to go inside. My teacher opened the door and welcomed me in with all my new classmates staring at me. I was mortified. I wondered if they’d like me. I wondered how the class would be different from my class in New Mexico. A lot of thoughts were running through my mind as I stood in the doorway to my new classroom. Those feelings only lasted a few seconds because, right away, they all started to welcome me. This time, all my fears about hating living on Kauai truly disappeared as I realized that I was going to love living here. The moral of the story is: Being scared is a part of life. Go for what you're scared of, because not only will it probably turn out great, but it will also make you a better person. Take me, for example. I used to live in New Mexico and thought I liked it there, but now I live on Kauai (also known as paradise). I love it here and wouldn't change anything.
© Cruz Jacobson. 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.