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Outcast Student Finds Home at Avalon

Anonymous (Avalon) Originally published November 2003
Editors’ note: Gretchen Sage-Martinson, an advisor at Avalon High School submitted this article by one of her students who was responding to the prompt, “How does going to Avalon affect you as a student?” The writer wished to remain anonymous.

Going to school used to feel comparable to walking into a hospital waiting room. The smell of death and fear and illness hovering in the air. A faint musky odor that will simply not leave your senses alone. To say the people made up for it would be a lie, frankly. The people who didn’t despise me basically just tolerated my existence. Of course, it doesn’t mean I didn’t trek off to the library to get on a computer nearly every day at lunch. If the computers were taken, I’d camp out in the history section and read, or sleep, or write a letter to one of my three best friends, all of whom lived out of state. These letters usually turned out babbly and rarely did I ever send them out. A lot of times, the librarian would catch me back there, but after a while he stopped asking me to go to a table. I think he understood the pain of being alone all too well. That library was my solitude.

On top of being a complete and utter outcast, my only strong subjects tended to be science and English. I’m not dumb by any means, but I had a very hard time concentrating. My math classes turned into ‘create calculator programs without anyone seeing’ classes. Or naptime. Again, my teacher finally gave up on the idea of asking me to work, because even he knew that I had no interest in it whatsoever. That’s not to say I didn’t care. I did. Very much. I just couldn’t get myself to concentrate on it long enough to figure it out.

The minute I heard about Avalon, I was intrigued. I decided to shadow my acquaintance’s ex girlfriend. I had so much fun, and I could already sense that Avalon might be the perfect place
for me. I wrote my essay, filled out my papers and waited. And waited. And waited… Finally I got the beautiful piece of mail ‘We’re happy to inform you…’ I immediately talked to my best friend, who promptly screamed when I told her I’d gotten in. She, if no one else, understood what this new school meant to me.

So the first day of school came, along with the nervousness and solitude that comes with being the ‘new kid,’ which seems to have a higher meaning in such a small school. For the first couple of weeks, it seemed as if I were still at my old school. No one really talked to me, and I didn’t blame them. It’s hard to approach someone who’s got their nose poked in a book, with a pissed-off look on their face. If it weren’t for someone coming up to me on the bus, I may have spoken to no one. It’s hard for me to take the first step, especially socially. Through the person I spoke to on the bus, I’ve met others, who are turning out to be very good friends indeed. I’m lucky. I could have continued to be alone had it not been for their willingness to say hello.

As for the academic side… I’m doing well. I’m seeing myself branching out more, completing the goals I set, instead of simply saying that I will. I’ve started setting higher unconscious standards of myself. I’m expecting more of myself, and I have more confidence. The lonely, scared kid sitting behind the A220 row in the high school library seems like only a faint dream, even though it was only half a year ago. Avalon is working for me. I just hope I can conduct myself in a way that will allow it to continue working. I think I can.

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