Teacher Appreciation Week Testimonial: The Power of Public Education

SHS junior Alexa Evensen shares her story of growth mindset

Alexa Evensen, Contributing Writer

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Ever since I took my first steps, sports have been my escape. At the age of three, I could throw a ball over a six-foot fence. At six, I could run faster than any guy in my grade. At ten, I was constantly picked first for handball, soccer, or any gym activity. At twelve, I learned to ski for the first time and was able to beat my dad (who is an amazing skier and hockey player) down double black diamonds without falling. At thirteen, I quit gymnastics at level six to play basketball. Now, at sixteen, I am the number one female javelin thrower at Scituate High School, and I am one of the fastest members of my basketball team.

I never believed I was athletic because there was always someone stronger, faster, taller, or fitter than me; however, sometimes that pushed me to become a better athlete. Nevertheless, during my freshman year, I gave up sports to have a better social life, and that mistake has impacted me to this day: I gained weight, lost my soccer and basketball skills, and let my grades drop to the point where I destroyed my chances of getting into any dream college of mine.

9th and 10th grade were the toughest years of my life. As a sophomore in high school, I experienced some very difficult personal challenges. I was alone and needed to improve my life and retrieve the happiness I had lost. Nothing seemed to make me happy, but when someone encouraged me to play basketball and join the track team again, that drive to succeed came back.

My track coach, Mrs. McCarthy, was one of the reasons I became a better person, and I’m so grateful that she pushed me to try things that I was too scared to do. I was terrified of throwing the javelin, but after seeing other people do it, I became aware that it wasn’t as scary as it may seem. Mrs. McCarthy treats everyone with kindness and respect and never gets angry when a person messes up. Being a strong-willed person, I appreciated Mrs. McCarthy’s expertise and insight — and my friends’ convincing — to get me to join the track team.

Without track or basketball, I’d have less chance of getting into my dream college, and the happiness I have gained back this year would be gone. The positive impact Scituate High School sports has had on me is immense, and being able to be part of such great teams (both basketball and track) is an amazing feeling. During those days when I don’t want to go to practice, I think about the positive vibes and energy I gain by attending just one hour-long practice, and I am motivated to go. Not only have I gained respect and confidence in myself, but I’ve learned valuable lessons from these sports. It’s an outstanding feeling to know I’m doing something good for myself.

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