These were her words, two weeks ago, as we walked outside our training center, and I asked how she thought she did on her 8th grade National Exam. Her reply concerned me because this girl has been through hell, yet always has a positive outlook, especially when it comes to school. I've never heard her voice a negative comment.
I suppose every school-aged child is overcome with doubt and anxiety at some point following the exam. The month-long wait for your score can seem like eons. And the stakes? Your score determines if you'll advance to the next phase of your academic career. No pressure.
If she passes, she'll retake the exam in 10th grade (determining high school advancement) and again as a senior (confirming if she's university-bound).
After losing both parents, she gravitated towards school. She's not an A+ student, but education means everything to her. Reading is her escape and has been a savior. When learning she has fallen ill to the same disease as her parents, she became a sponge to learn as much as she can. She eats the right food, makes sure she has her medication, and most importantly, she knows she can survive. She's far beyond her years in this realistic, smart approach to her future. Information is power has never been so fitting.
She lives alone, so has no one at home pushing her to study. Our training center has become her second home, family, and go-to for advice, direction, and much structure.
Our teachers motivate the girls in the weeks leading up to National Exams. The older girls push the littles, as they've been down this road before. We're in it together - for those who will pass and for those needing to work harder.
This morning on the subway (now back in NYC) I received a text. It was an image of her test score and the announcement of her advancement to 9th grade! I let out a massive "YES!!!" and wanted so badly to share this incredible news with my fellow riders.
Instead, I happily shared the moment in spirit with her, knowing she's jumping up & down right now celebrating at the training center with her Studio Samuel family.
Love this girl - and all those behind her who helped make this moment happen.
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