Interview with Maya, Grade 9

 

Maya, this statuesque model type, strolled into my office with a back pack jammed full of notebooks and books. There was also a book in her hand, as though she didn’t want to be far from the ability to write. She stood tall, because of both genetics and posture, and was fashionably dressed. She is clearly learning to express herself through her clothes, accessories and the embracing of her natural coils that happily bounce with every step she takes.

1. Did you choose Sizer or did your parents? Why?

I was looking for a chance to start over. I didn’t have many friends at my old school and I was intense about homework and anxious about my grades. When I got here I was able to make more friends and connected with them through similar interests.

My grades used to be my entire sense of self. It was everything. Here, teachers don’t just give work to give work. They give work that matters and has a purpose. When I first got here I wasn’t sure who I was or if it was really safe for me to be me. The community, here at school and outside of here, because they appreciate diversity, redefined my idea of beauty. The longer I am here the more I am able to establish an identity and find interests.

2. What is your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject is English, always. I love writing. Not only are the teachers here nice, they help me create and encourage that.  I create ideas that entertain, then I create characters, and the ideas are recycled through the characters.

3. Do you participate in any clubs, sports, etc?

I used to do track and cross country. This year I dance ballet outside of here. I am also a part of the after school club Equals. It’s a club where we promote equality for all people. I’ve been a part of that for a few years now and I really enjoy it.

4. Who is your hero and why?

My hero is my mother. She’s unique and ‘out there’. She does things I’d be super embarrassed to do. She’s not worried about what others think. She’s always courageous and so brave. She’s always super positive and she tries to be super nice to everyone. When you’re around her you just can’t be sad. I want to be like that. So brave.

5. Is there anything you’d share with a student who is considering coming to Sizer School?

I would tell them to take a chance and to try something new. This is a great school where you get to learn how to become a better student and a better person.

 

When asked where she wanted to take her picture she took me to an aisle in the library where a chair was already waiting for her. She dropped her bag and sank into the chair, like a visit to a familiar friend. There have been a few times since the interview that I saw her in that nook, laughing with a friend, lost in a book, or looking off intentionally and then putting words to paper. Perhaps that space makes her feel safe, surrounded by characters and creation. Wherever this young lady sits, I am confident that she will continue to move through her life with fluidity and forever blooming into her true self.

Ms. Vazquez, interviewer, is the Student Recruitment & Enrichment Coordinator at Sizer.