I can be their cheerleader

As the School Improvement Specialist, one of my responsibilities is test coordinator for the building. It’s a heavy duty responsibility. Testing is not so much fun, so I feel that my responsibility is building relationships with the students and the teachers to help reduce the stress and make it a more enjoyable environment.

A lot of my time is spent with the seniors who might need additional support in meeting graduation requirements. I spend a great deal of time with them. It’s a very rewarding process. We work through what they need: maybe some remediation, maybe some one-on-one support talking them up – increasing their confidence. I want them to know that they have a support piece here. I can be their cheerleader.


The Unlucky Four-Leaf Clover

My favorite subject is probably math because I’m always thinking up different strategies. Sometimes my strategies are a little bit too complicated for the class.

I also really like writing because it’s when I can write all of my ideas. Like, once I wrote a story called “The Unlucky Four-Leaf Clover.” It was about three girls, and a girl named Maddie found a four-leaf clover. Her other friend said it would be good luck and then her other friend, Lily, said, “I don’t know guys, it has a rip in the leaf.” Then they said, “Sooo?” – and this is just the introduction. And then Lily said, “If a four-leaf clover has a rip in the leaf that means it’s unlucky.” But then Maddie just kept it anyway. Then one day, they went to McDonald’s and she asked for a Big Mac – so did everyone else. They all got Big Macs except Maddie; she got chicken nuggets and it’s her least favorite food at McDonald’s.

Was she carrying that unlucky clover?

Yeah. And then, eventually in the end of the story she tried to throw away the clover, but the next morning it was hanging above her on a piece of string like a spider. And that’s the end of the story.

Are there other unlucky things that happened to her in the story?

She fell on her bike and she was still carrying the four-leaf clover. I was trying to be very descriptive and said that the bruise looked a dinosaur had bit her on the knee.

There was this other story I made, and I forgot what it was called, but I eventually ended it because I didn’t know what else to do, so I just ended it like a cliffhanger.

Have you thought about a job you might like to have?

If I can’t decide between a teacher or an artist, I’d probably chose an art teacher since that’s a thing. I couldn’t figure out whether to be a teacher or an artist because I really want to be a math teacher.

You still can be.

I know, but I don’t want to keep up with two jobs.


I do Irish step dancing

I do Irish step dancing. I think I started around 5, and my mom just asked me if I wanted to do it. I said, “OK, sure.” And now I’ve been doing it for 8 years.

Basically all my siblings used to do it but now it’s just down to my sister, my stepbrother and me. There are solos and ceili, which is group dancing. I probably enjoy the individual dancing more.

I just recently got to the top level which is open champion. It goes beginner, advanced beginner, novice, prize winner, preliminary champion and then open champion. You have to get first place twice in one level in order to move up to the next level.

Why do you like it?

It’s really fun. It’s something different and I also have a lot of friends doing it.


I just want to learn more

I worked for Norfolk Public Schools for 10 years as a teacher assistant and then I graduated from college, TCC. I went for four years – from 1996 to 2000. I went part-time for four years and worked. When I graduated from TCC, then I applied for Virginia Beach schools. I have been working as an office secretary since. I just love working with the children and I have great co-workers. I just enjoy coming to work every day because we get along so well and each day you learn something.

What prompted you to want to go to college?

I just want to learn more. I wanted to have some type of degree behind me. It gave me more confidence and I just learned a lot. I was 36.

What would you say to other people who maybe are working and want to go to college?

It’s never too late to go back to school because you learn every day and years go by so fast. It’s never too late to go back to school.


I’m really involved in this school

I’m really involved in this school. I like staying busy in school because I don’t like to just have nothing to do where I get to the point that I’m so bored that I fall asleep. I started my own club here. It’s the Minecraft club. We play the video game Minecraft but along with it we learn coding. We actually have grants from Microsoft where we have special licenses that have different technology in Minecraft that we use for programming and coding and art and design. So I love that, too. Robotics club – I do that, too. And the forensics team here, I do impromptu. I got second place in the city last year, and I’m doing that same category again this year.

Outside of school I take and teach skating lessons at Haygood Skating Center, and I play piano. I started roller skating seven years ago or when I was 7, I think. I used to take the same public lessons that I teach now. I used to take those at first and I got better. So I moved on to private one-on-one lessons with the teacher and then I help her to teach other students after I take my lessons.

Why do you like roller skating?

It keeps me active. I get to hang out with friends all the time because Haygood is so close in this area that everyone goes there. I go there every Saturday. I get there at 10:30 a.m. for my private lesson for 30 minutes and then public lessons for another 30 minutes, and then they open to the public at 12:00 p.m. and I usually stay there until 4 or 5 p.m.

What are your career aspirations?

Marine biology, graphic design, social media – stuff like that. I also volunteer at the Virginia Aquarium often, so doing that, I guess, got my attention as to how cool all the technology is and the science behind it, which is another one of my favorite subjects so that’s how it ties in. And graphic design…I run the school’s Instagram here. Doing that, I got better after a while at manipulating pictures and text.

I wonder if there is a way to combine them all.

I know. My dad was saying I could be the Virginia Aquarium social media/graphic designer.


Change the world

I like to play baseball. I remember sitting there eating that baseball gum just watching my brothers play. And whenever my brother would get a strike, I would yell, “STRIKE!” It was really fun. And every day after baseball, we would get to go to the park and have a lot of fun.

For me, I like baseball because I have more of an opportunity to make friends. Because when you’re sitting there waiting or practicing, it’s just real easy to make friends. You just laugh a lot and make friends.

What do you enjoy in school?

I’m in the Spanish Immersion Program. I like that it’s challenging and well, since I’ve been in Spanish for a while, it’s not hard anymore. I remember the first time I went to Spanish; I think it was first grade. She said that first complicated word in Spanish. I was like, What? She had to explain the words to me in little tiny vowels. It was weird.

And now?

And now I’m just flawless.

How would you finish this statement: If I could change the world, I would…?

If I could change the world, I would make an invention. I would make something that everyone would love, like REALLY the future. Like, hmm… I don’t really know. That’s hard.

Change the world… That is difficult though.

Oh! So, you’d go through a democracy and vote and stuff to make like a school that would – it doesn’t teach kids how to add and subtract and write. It will teach kids how to create things. Like, it will REALLY put them to the test to make random things. They’ll hand you something – like a box filled with random stuff like glue sticks, scissors, shoelaces, stuff like that. And they have to build something that will surprise them really badly. So, if you don’t get surprised, you have to keep practicing. But if you surprise them the first time, you get to move up a rank and just build cool things. And then eventually it will come out with a brand new invention. Someone really smart will come up with something really cool – and change the world!


Computers and walking

I was in the first group of women in the Navy who went to a ship. There must have been about 100 of us who went to boot camp together, undesignated, and just went to the ship after.

After I got out I went into the reserves and ended up working at Little Creek at one of the maintenance activities and really got into computers there. They were typing everything up, all the rosters, and I told them – back then we had a word processor – “We can put it all in there and update and make changes to it then print it off.”  They were thankful for that suggestion!

But that’s how I found my way to computers.  Computers and walking are the two things I couldn’t do without.

I do a lot of walking. Ask anyone here and they know I walk. It’s my meditation. I walk before I come into work, then I take off at lunch and I walk, and I also dog walk.

I also really enjoy group fitness classes and am a frequent participate at the Parks and Rec centers. I usually do three or four classes a week. It’s a great way to meet new people.

#WeAreVBSchools #WeAreWednesdays

I like to do a lot of fishing

Outside of work I like to do a lot of fishing out in the woods where there are trails. I’m all about the outdoors. I spend a lot of time outside since I’m in the building six days a week.

What got you interested in fishing?

My dad. When I was a little kid, he would take me hunting in the woods or fishing. It just stuck with me.

It’s fun because you get a chance to get to out in the water and think. It relaxes you just to be out in the water. You spend a lot of time thinking – especially if you’re not catching fish. You have time to reflect on things and you get to see nature at its best.

#WeAreVBSchools #WeAreWednesdays

I can identify stones and gems

Well, do you want to know my interests first? Dinosaurs, fossils, stones, reading and geography.

Do you have any favorite dinosaurs?

Well, I do have a few. Tyrannosaurus Rex, Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops.

And you mentioned stones. Do you have a favorite? Diamonds. That is my birthstone and I have a large one. And opal – it’s pretty brittle.

And I have fossils. One is a trilobite. And my trilobite fossil is brittle. I’d rather not touch that – just like my leaf fossil. I’d rather not touch that because I don’t want either one to break.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

Well, I do like attention. And I can identify stones and gems. That’s what I like to do. If you go into room 6 – my room – you might see a poster of me because I am the Star Student of the Week. Plus, I like to go on nature hikes with my dad.

What do you like best about first grade?

Miss Callis. She says I’m her snuggle bug. I like to snuggle with her.


I’m interested in swimming

I’m interested in swimming, Odyssey of the Mind and sports. I’ve done sports for most of my life. I’ve done tennis, swimming, rugby – both tag and full contact – volleyball, softball, kickball. Swimming is probably my favorite.

Have you thought about what you might be interested in for a career?

Since preschool I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist or an artist. My grandmother was always an artist and she always encouraged me to do stuff like that. Except she’s a realist and I’m a cartoonist. And I’m interested in marine biology because I’ve been interested in swimming since I was little. We’ve always had a pool in our backyard. I’ve known how to swim for a long time. I always swim. I never wanted to work in zoos because I don’t think zoos are right, and I don’t think aquariums are right because they contain animals in tiny spaces. So, I thought, let’s go study animals out in the wild.

Do you have a favorite sea animal?

Probably the deep sea fish, the ones that look like they come out of horror movies. I just like to look at them. I’ve always tried to protect people who didn’t get treated right and who didn’t look like everybody else. I’ll do the same for animals.


I’m a mom all the way around

I’m a mom all the way around. I’m a mom on the school bus to the 100-some students that I see every day. I’m a mom to my four beautiful kids at home. Just trying to tend to things every day – like music, graduation coming up, trying to get a little one started in school.

I drive a school bus because I love the kids. I started driving a bus because I can take my kids with me and work with other kids all at the same time. I didn’t have to get daycare, which was perfect. But I keep driving because I just love these kids. They’re my heart. They’re my soul. They just keep me going every day.


I like being people’s friend

I would want people to know that I love my mom and she’s my favorite thing. She helps me a lot. She helps me have success and with getting good grades and getting friends. She’s sweet and she’s kind and she’s great.

For Mother’s Day I am planning to take her out to eat, and me and dad are going shopping after school to get her some stuff.

How nice. What else do you want people to know about you?

My favorite color is purple and I love making new friends, so don’t be afraid to say, “Hi.” I like helping new students understand and have friends that can help them out a little bit. I just like being kind and to appreciate what I have. And I’m 6 years old – about to be 7 on October 21.

I want to be a technologist. One thing I really want to make is a mirror that always has a positive message on the side. And it has what the temperature is and it tells you how to dress today.

What would be some of the positive messages on the mirror?

You’re beautiful just the way you are. You don’t have to change a thing. People can change the way they think about you because everybody’s perfect.

It sounds like being a good friend is really important to you. How is someone a good friend to others?

You have to be kind and to help them out when they need help and when they don’t know what to do. Just be a kind person to them. I like being people’s friend and I know it hurts when people are lonely and they don’t have very many things or people to play with.


I would like to be a weatherman

I say the weather on the announcements. I like hot weather. I would like to be a weatherman.  I like being on the announcements.  When I am done, I say, “Back to you, ladies.”

What do you like about being at Woodstock?

I love everything about Woodstock.  I love my teachers.  All of my friends.  I am a responsible and respectful Woodchuck.  I show the Woodstock Way.

How do you show the Woodstock Way?

I listen.  I show the Woodstock Way by not shouting out.  I am kind.


I love history

I wanted to wear this today because I’m going golfing this afternoon with my babysitter and my brother. I just got some new golf clubs. Before I only had three clubs – the 3, 6 and a putter. But now I have a driver, a hybrid – and actually, on spring break, I got a REALLY good hit with my hybrid. I was deep in the woods and I hit it all the way back on the other side of the fairway. So, I have a driver, hybrid, pitching wedge, 57 iron, 7, 6-iron putter – which is a putter that I really have wanted. That’s seven clubs which is how many clubs I have.

What else do you like to do?

I like being on stage. Basically what I like is performing and having most of the attention. I haven’t actually performed but I WILL be in a play soon. I had like going-away plays and songs that I sang in kindergarten, which was not at this school. It was a Beach Day School.

And at Christmas…so, I was with my cousins and both of us got, from my nana and my papa, last-minute presents. We got clues. All of my cousin’s clues were random clues, and it was a little miniature trampoline for her and her baby sister. I got history clues, and guess what I got? One, I got a sword from the Vietnam War which my papa fought in. And then my last present was Hamilton tickets. My mom, my dad, me and my brother went to see it in New York.

I LOVE history! It’s my favorite thing in the world. It is so unique, the things that they did back then and the amazing things they had that we don’t have now. They just have historical things that we don’t have as much now. We have newer things. It’s just amazing how they did without what we have.

Do you have a favorite time period?

Usually it’s 1776. It’s when Alexander Hamilton…it’s basically when he met all his friends and started the Revolutionary War. It just was an amazing year. It was a good year for him.


My passion is Challenger Little League

My passion is Challenger Little League. Challenger is the division of Little League for individuals 4 years of age through adulthood who have physical or intellectual challenges that would keep them from playing on a regular baseball team.

My son is 31 and I’ve been involved with it in one way or another since he started playing. He has Down syndrome. I have three children. Two of them have Down syndrome.

Why does it make you happy to be part of Challenge Little League?

Well, the biggest thing that I do for Challenger is that I’m the co-director of the Jake Hardison Memorial Challenger Jamboree, which takes place this weekend. It’s always Mother’s Day weekend and this is the 27th year that the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area has put on that event. Jake Hardison is one of the people that I admire the most because he started this event. He did it because he ran Little League in the Hampton Roads area (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, the Eastern Shore) and when he was sitting at All-Star tournaments, he saw the special needs kids on the outside looking in at their siblings and decided that they needed a tournament. He started the Challenger Fun Weekend and it’s changed names over the years. When he passed away we changed it to honor him, and for the last four or five years I’ve been co-director of that event. As long as it keeps going then it’s there for the kids to participate in and that’s what makes me feel good – that these kids and adults, who don’t always have the access that everybody else has, through the Challenger program get to play ball like everyone else.

#WeAreVBSchools #WeAreWednesdays

School nursing

This is my fifth year as a school nurse and I spent 16 years in the ER. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love school nursing. I just love it so much. I get choked up just talking about it.

Even though it’s very much the same as an ER it’s very much different. You never know what’s going to come through the door, but getting to know these kids – like they’re your own kids – is so different than working in the hospital. I get to know them, their families, their parents, their siblings and their friends. I get to know what sports teams they’re on and what kind of food they like to eat. It’s something that I wasn’t prepared for – to have this connection with the kids, and that’s what I love most about school nursing.

It’s more than just nursing skills – those I’ve had for a long time. It’s the other stuff that goes along with it – the coaching, the mentoring, being their biggest fan and their friend and their fashion consultant and their shoe cobbler. Just being somebody who can acknowledge that they don’t feel good that day. Sometimes that’s all they need to be able to turn back around and face the day again. Because sometimes they don’t have their mom or dad here right now, so I consider the school nurse as an extension of mom and dad. I’ve found that this is the most rewarding part of my nursing career and I just plan to be here until I retire.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love the beach. School nursing – you can’t beat that schedule with summers off, and I’m learning how to paddle board. I like watching sunrises and sunsets. They’re my favorite thing on earth. They’re constantly changing. They’re beautiful. I like that they just represent so much – the beginning, the end. I don’t know why I like them. I just do. I can’t look away.

#WeAreVBSchools #WeAreWednesdays


Gymnastics just gives me a lot of joy

Gymnastics just gives me a lot of joy. When I do it I forget about a lot of other things that I was worrying about. I was doing ballet and rhythmic gymnastics. My rhythmic gymnastics coach went somewhere else, so I went to gym. They moved me from Level 3 to Level 4, Level 7, Level 8 and now Level 9 this year. The highest level is 10 or elite. My coaches are training me probably for [USA Gymnastics] HOPES this year in Level 9. It will be my first year doing it. HOPES is a different kind of testing for TOPS, and it’s for top gymnasts in the country.

I leave at school at 3 p.m. every day now so I can go to ‘doubles’ and that’s when you have extra gym so you can get better. I practice about five hours each day. On Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays, I think, I do five hours. Wednesdays I do two hours. Thursdays I do four hours and Saturdays I do four hours. I get a break on Sundays.

My favorite event is uneven bars. I feel like that’s the least scary to me but everyone else thinks it’s the scariest for them. It’s my favorite event. I love it so much.

I’ve tried a lot of other sports – like swimming, ballet; I’ve done fencing because my brothers do it. I’ve also tried martial arts, but my favorite one was gymnastics. I want to return to rhythmic one day, but I like gym the best.

My goal is to go to the Olympics in 2024. It’s going to be in Paris. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris.


People helped me

I’m the cafeteria monitor at Strawbridge Elementary – and SOL tutor, substitute teacher. I love it because it helps me not only give back but also to work my way up in Virginia Beach Schools to a full-time TA position.

Why do you like working in schools and with students?

Because I remember when I was a student way back when, and what I learned in school I want to help give back. People helped me.

We have a balloon blowing contest in lunch. The students will come and I will get maybe one or two students. They will do 30 seconds. They have to blow it up the biggest.  The winner…I will give them Shark Bucks. It hasn’t happened yet.

No one has beat you yet?

Not even Mrs. Sargeant.

We also have hula hoop and cup stacking. If they let the hula hoop drop to the ground, they’ve lost.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Singing at church. Spending time with my wife. Music. Talking to people.

She’s not just our teacher

If we didn’t have teachers, we wouldn’t have jobs. We really wouldn’t have anything if teachers weren’t teachers. No one would be able to do what they always dreamed of. All your life you’re working up to be someone you want to be and teachers help you with that all through your life.

I actually have a surprise for my teacher, Ms. Cohen, for Teacher Appreciation Week. She is really cheerful and giddy and always puts everyone in a good mood. She is strict when she needs to be, but she’s a really good teacher and she helps everyone on their pathway. We have a really good connection with her, so we all know about her and she knows about us. She can talk to each one of us and know exactly what we’re talking about – like, something that we talked about three weeks ago; she’s just that kind of a teacher. She’s not just our teacher but she’s like a mom or a friend, and she helps us.


I collect Transformers

I collect Transformers, which is kind of nerdy. I counted them the other day, I think I have over 70, which is a lot. I really enjoy them. I played with them as a kid and I just decided to start collecting them.

My dad grew up with the original show, and he took me to see the first movie when I was, like, 2. I grew up watching the show that was along with that and watching the movies. So I’ve kind of grown up with it.

I guess Soundwave is my favorite. He’s got like a monotone voice and a mono eye.

What are you thinking about for a career?

Either being a lawyer somewhere in the law field because I got into First Colonial High School for the Legal Studies Academy. I want to see what I want to go to in the law field.

And your name is Justice. Any connection?

Not really. My dad picked a bunch of really dumb names and that was the least bad. Others were Hawk, Bishop…a couple more. My mom didn’t like any of them. She thought Justice was the least bad.

What do you think of it?

I like my name. I think it’s different.


I want to be tons of things

What I like about school is math, but it’s hard – reading and writing, our teachers and our principal, PE, lunch…I like everything!

I brought in cookies for the class yesterday and I really don’t know why. The night before, I was bored so I said, “Mom, I’m bringing in cookies for the class.” I rolled the dough into a ball and put one pan in the oven and my mom put in the other pan. It took like 30 minutes.

Have you thought about what you’d like to be when you’re older?

I want to be tons of things. I want to be a coach for cheerleading and for gymnastics. And I want to make clothes for dogs and make clothes for people. Dogs are my favorite animal.

And I love singing. It just gives me the inspiration to make me happy for some reason. My mom took me to this place called Music Makers. I do singing and piano. I’m working on this song and it’s a cup song from “Pitch Perfect.” I have to do piano with it. I decided to do it by myself. And my music teacher looks just like my teacher here, Ms. Stava. She really does.


Science inspires me

Science inspires me because my uncle is a scientist. You get to guess about what you think is going to happen. It’s a hypotheses.

Do you want to be a scientist when you grow up?

No. I want to be an engineer because I like to make stuff to see what happens and see how things work. I just want to make things happen. I like to figure out what the answer is to stuff. When you’re an engineer, you get to see the scientists and you get to make the scientists’ ideas.


I stop and smell the flowers

I’ve been with Arrowhead for almost eight years now. I also do senior care.

Here with the kids, that’s my upbeat – you’re in mommy mode. And then the second half of my day, I’m with my seniors and that mellows me out. I stop and smell the flowers, enjoy life, take it in. The stories are amazing. I’ve been doing that about eight years as well. It really makes you appreciate life. I wouldn’t trade that in for the world.

Right now I have one client. She will be 94. She is like my best friend. I have learned so much from her. They have so much spirit, and it kind of makes me when I feel like I’m ready to step to the negative I say, “No – life is good.” It’s a constant reminder for me.

#WeAreVBSchools #WeAreWednesdays

I collect antiques

I collect antiques. I had a pretty massive Coca-Cola collection at one time – memorabilia, the old stuff. It’s advertising in general. I used to find it at flea markets, yard sales, antique shows, E-bay.

What got you interested in collecting?

Like all kids, playing in the woods we’d come across these old bottle dumps of people throwing stuff away. We were digging around and I found a Coke bottle and I stuck it in the garage and I found it years later. I always thought it was interesting because the bottle read: “Bottle patented Dec. 25, 1923.” I thought, that’s Christmas; why would it be Christmas on this Coke bottle? So I found a book on Coca-Cola memorabilia and it said that in the 1920s they issued patents like on the Tuesday of each week. That bottle, when they re-patented it, it happened to fall on Dec. 25. So even though they weren’t open that day that’s what was probably put on every bottle that Coke manufactured until probably 1937.

So you have scores and scores of Coke memorabilia?

Yes. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of it but I still have a garage that’s full of it. I still collect antique scales – sort of, making it look like a country store. One thing leads to another, but part of my retirement plan is to start getting rid of it because it’s massive and you don’t know – you have two bottle openers and one is worth $3 and another could be $300. The old typewriters and adding machines, I got into that when I started doing the country store thing. So I would pick them up at antique malls. I used to get them at flea markets for $10 but now they are coming back up in prices. So you find stuff around. Once you collect, you can’t stop.

#WeAreVBSchools #WeAreWednesdays

The Greatest Show

When I was at the audition for the school’s talent show, it was kind of exciting and kind of creepy because I hadn’t done it yet and I was afraid I would forget the words and get stage fright. I have done other things for the school, like Reflections, but I really wasn’t performing in front of other people like what I would be doing in a talent show.

What was the name of your act?

The Greatest Show. I was the circus king in act No. 1. I was supposed to sing a song. The first song of the actual movie – “The Greatest Showman.” It was really fun.

What would you tell other people who get nervous?

I would tell them don’t be afraid. If you do your best, it will all turn out. And, if you do your best, you will always be a winner.


What really inspires me

What really inspires me are athletic people, like Olympians. I really love sports and right now I’m doing track. I love talking to my teammates because we all help each other reach our goals.

I run the 300-meter hurdles, the 110-meter hurdles, the 4×4, and the 200; and I do the high jump, triple jump and long-jump. I have the school’s record for indoor season for high jump at 6 feet 2.5 inches.

Is there a particular Olympian who inspires you?

Usain Bolt. He’s really fast and really determined. I watch documentaries on him and he always talks about how much he runs and how much he trains to get to where he is at right now.

What got you involved in track?

My mom. I was really shy and nervous but then she told me try out for track with my brother. And, as soon as I got out there, everybody was talking to me so I felt part of the team right away and I just continue to do events with everyone else.

What would you say to other people who were in your same position?

Don’t be nervous. Try to talk to people even if you’re shy about it. If you talk to somebody they will help you out and eventually you will know a lot more people. I have one friend who was really nervous when she first came to school. She really didn’t talk to anybody, so I introduced myself and we started talking right away and now she talks to everybody and everybody loves her.


I want to be a medical examiner

I really do like the teachers here. They really connect with the students. And I definitely like some of the activities we do here at school. I definitely like our art teacher. She does really fun projects with us. Our nurse is really good.

And whenever we go and do our gifted classes…Mrs. Brogan, she’s really nice. And she’s really happy whenever we accomplish something big.

My teacher sometimes dresses up to teach us lessons. We used Oreos to learn the moon phases. We were using food and stuff like clementines and graham crackers for fractions. She let’s us go onto our computers a lot.

Have you thought about what you want to do when you grow up?

I want to be a medical examiner. I’ve always been interested in the medical field and I thought I was going to be a surgeon, but then I found out about a medical examiner and how it’s not limited. You explore throughout all of the body. As a surgeon, you’re only allowed to do the ankle or you’re only allowed to the elbow or the shoulder or the nose. But I learned, as a medical examiner, you go all throughout the body. You do the brain; you do the lungs; you do the stomach. You do everything to find out how this person passed away, and I just really want to help people out and find out how their loved ones died.

How did you learn about medical examiners?

I don’t remember how I learned about it. I feel like it was a TV show.


Field hockey is my outlet

I play field hockey competitively on a team, TCOYO. I also played at school but I compete nationally with that club team, and I’ve also been on the junior national team for the U17 division. I’m a goal keeper and that’s my outlet for school. I just forget about everything. I play because that’s what I want to do. I’m a student-athlete. I’m going to Ohio State for college and I’ve got a scholarship to play field hockey there.


I’ve made a lot of platform games

Scratch is basically like a website where you can make your own game and code it. Then you can share it and people worldwide can look at it, like it and follow you. I have three followers. I’ve made a lot of platform games. You use the arrow keys to move around; then you can jump and all that jazz.

Why are you interested in this?

When I was younger I started counting at a very young age. When I was maybe 1.5 years old, I always wanted to do addition because my cousin lived with me at my grandma’s house and she showed me: one plus one is two. And I started memorizing. By preschool I was already doing multiplication, but only the basics. Then I kept doing it and my mom asked me if I wanted to keep going with math and I said, “Yeah, this is really fun.” So we signed up for a program called Kumon. Now I’m basically at the highest level so far. My cousin is at the highest, too. She’s two grades older than me. We’re at the same exact level.

What do you hope to do in the future for a career? Will you use math?

It’s just like the complete opposite. I want to be a judge or a lawyer, but I like doing math so I don’t exactly know. But I’m trying to go for a judge because I like history and law and all that stuff because it’s really fun, too. I don’t know why I like history. It’s just fun learning about a lot of people.

First I wanted to be one of those doctors or a dentist. When I got to fourth grade I learned about more jobs in the future, and then I finally figured out a judge. On social studies tests I always get 100s, so I’m pretty confident about that.

Is there anything else you want people to know?

I like playing soccer too. I play on Rush. I have many friends that do soccer too. I also play piano. I’ve played for 3.5 years. For me, I think it’s really funny to see my fingers running around scales and it’s just enjoyable when I’m bored. Then I have to go to competitions. I’m trying out for a higher competition and if I win, I get like $300 or something.

What will you do with the money?

I don’t know yet about that. I gotta win first.