The Magic of Learning

By Paloma Ducrest

Walking through the doors of Community 1 for the first time transported me back to when I entered the classroom on my first day at my new middle school so many years ago. In both cases, I was nervous and excited to see who I would find and how the semester would play out. I could never have expected to be welcomed into a space at Lakewood that was so joyous, collaborative, and always buzzing with energy. Coming into this school every week and being surrounded by so much wonder and silliness gave me a piece of my own childhood back, and for that I will always be thankful. Within the walls of Community 1, I found a group of sixth graders that are experiencing school the way it should be. With the freedom to explore their own interests and work with their classmates, they can feel excited when coming to school. As a future teacher, I took many notes on how Mr. Borek and Ms. Kohel have created such an inclusive and stimulating environment, and I hope to one day recreate it for my own students.

I would like to thank the students and teachers of Community 1 for their incredible hospitality towards me this semester. Never once did I feel like an outsider in this group as I was immediately accepted and let in on all the goings-on of the class. Thank you especially to the students for letting me get up close to you with my big camera to capture the happiness, stress, focus, confusion, empowerment, and even sometimes boredom of sixth grade. You are unlike any other middle schoolers I have ever met, and I cannot wait to see all that you accomplish. Thank you for the joy you brought me this semester. I will never forget this experience!