A story to tell. Since the first Cave Paleolithic paintings in Spain were discovered, the great Mayan temples were unearthed, the story-telling of Shakespeare was given to us to inspire generations, or, more personally for me, Susan B. Anthony marched down the streets of Rochester New York, or Maya Angelou whispered her powerful stories through poetry, I am here, I am present, here is my story to tell. These people and events all marked our timeline, which eventually impacted our culture today. I feel our experiences aren’t just isolated to us but have a major impact on our lives as a society. I too, have a story to tell that fits into this cultural tapestry.

At a young age I was taught by my family to express myself and to use my voice. My mom used to tell me, “No one can quiet you down or take your voice away from you, except yourself.” I cherished those words knowing someday it would be imperative for me to remember. Fast forward to elementary school. At the school I attended before Park Street School, I was the only, brown-skinned girl in my class. I always felt like I looked different and even sometimes was treated differently by my peers and teachers. They called me racist slurs and even told me I was a waste of education. They refused to teach me what my classmates learned. I felt hurt and uncomfortable in my own skin.

In order to survive every day at school I needed to build a shell around me to protect myself. I felt like I needed to hide my voice because it had no value. It came to a point where I protected myself so much, I lost myself. My parents saw this, too, and decided to take me out. I visited new schools locally around me and some from far away. That’s where I was introduced to PSS. I have never been to a school so family-oriented, religiously involved, and loving. When I visited, I felt respected and noticed. Even though I was shy and nervous, they were calm and patient when I took a while to answer questions and speak. My parents and I instantly knew this was the school for me.

When my parents told my former school, I was leaving, they claimed no school would want me. My mom was heartbroken and didn’t know how to break the news to me that night. How could you tell your child that they might be trapped, that their school would ensure she wouldn’t be successful.

When my mom told me I got into PSS, I cried. It was an unbelievable thought. Someone was willing to take a chance on me. Someone was willing to hear my voice. I can still see me and my mom jumping around in the living room and dancing, well only me cause my mom can’t really dance, but at least she tried. Over the years at PSS, I learned to express myself and flourish into the person I am today. PSS helped me feel comfortable in my own skin and become the amazing student I am. I met friends, created close bonds with teachers, and even broke the shell. I think I broke it a little too much. I was the Maya I remembered, filled with energy and happiness. Due to the phenomenal support and a loving environment, I received from my teachers, staff, and Ms. Bradley who believed in me, Today I am an honor roll student, an ambassador, and involved in different activities and clubs at my current school. I want to take the opportunity to thank God for blessing me with Park Street school who I consider as my family, who helped me grow into a spiritual and powerful young lady in every aspect. I look forward to the beautiful chapters to come, because I have God the greatest author who is writing my story. This is my story to tell.


— Maya Thompson, PSS Class of 2020

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