IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2016 Essay Contest
Winner: Middle School Second Place
View printable PDF version of this winning essay
8th Grade, John Still K-8, Sacramento City USD
Since I became a tutor, I have become more responsible. Also, I have taken my work and grades more seriously. Plus, I am more understanding of disobedient kids. I have become more patient than what I used to be. Even now I still goof around but not as much as I use to. This job has changed me in so many ways. Here is my story of how I have changed in a good way.
When I began middle school, I didn’t worry about much. It was okay to have one F and average grades. Most of the time, I wouldn’t participate in school. I believed that I could worry about important stuff when I became 18 and was in college. Teachers would try and help me reach my full potential. Most of the time when they tried to help me, I wouldn’t want to pay attention to them.
One day, I got a call saying I could get paid for tutoring. I was ecstatic that I would be getting paid, more so than the actual tutoring part. The day I began, the kids were loud and rude. I thought about yelling on the first day. As I was thinking, I realized that I was the same way. Teachers had to be patient with me when I misbehaved, so I had to do the same.
When I returned the next day, I remembered I had to be patient with my kids. So as one of my tutees came, they were talking to their friend and then sat down. We began to review long “O” words. Steve didn’t want to pay attention, I felt myself getting angry, but I remembered to be patient. So to make it interesting, I made it into a game so he would enjoy it more. From that day forward, I learned to more patient and understanding to my tutees.
As I started tutoring I got my first check. I usually waste money, but when I cashed the check I was thinking of ways to be responsible as an adult. I then remembered it was Christmastime, and my mom didn’t have a lot of money because she has six kids. So as she was buying groceries one day, I told her she could have one hundred dollars of my check so she can buy stuff for the house.
As I started to become more responsible by helping my mom and showing up to work on time, I wanted to show my mom I could raise my grades as well. When it came to my grades, I just wanted a few A’s, some B’s, and maybe one F. But then I thought: “Why should I sell myself short? I should try getting honor roll.” The second quarter was coming up, so I began studying day and night until I got good grades. Finally, the second quarter came, and they passed out honor roll awards. I was shaking so much. My teacher came and said, “Congratulations, you did it!’’
Without this job I would have not gotten the inspiration to do great things. Now I am passing all my classes with A’s and B’s. I help my mom with anything she needs help with, and I am a more patient and understanding person. Also, I’m showing up to work right on time. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to be in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program. It has changed me into a brighter, young man.