2015-02-28 / The Bullhorn

Education — not always a right, but a privilege

Anderson Clayton works with one of her sixth-grade students at Dziedorve Basic School. Anderson Clayton works with one of her sixth-grade students at Dziedorve Basic School. It is strange really, to think about where everyone will be in the next year — universities small and large, adventuring around the world, or even getting a job for crying out loud — all possibilities of where my fellow classmates and I will end up; however, before we take our final steps across the stage, there is one thing I hope every graduating senior has learned: and that is the value of one’s education, knowing that learning is incomplete unless it is applied.

This past summer, I went on a humanitarian trip to Ghana, Africa through a program called Global Leadership Adventures (GLA).

I was there to teach sixthgrade English at Dziedorve Basic School in a town named Anloga.

Three weeks on a completely different continent was a big task for a 16-year-old, but as soon as I met my students, there was no question that I was meant to be there.

My most memorable teaching moment this summer is quite hard to choose but I know which one impacted my life the most.

I was sitting in my sixthgrade class one morning, absolutely exhausted. I had just gotten done carrying bricks back and forth to help lay the foundation for the construction of the two kindergarten classrooms we were building. It was the hottest day yet; the sun was out in full force and not a cloud was in the sky.

Standing at the front of the classroom, I attempted to get the desks ready for the kids to come in.

That day we were learning about adding and subtracting fractions. I saw all of my regular students come in the door, Benedicta, Cynthia, Felicia, Simon and Prosper.

But then I saw another boy come in behind them. His name was Enoch, and he sat in the very back of the classroom.

As my teaching partner started discussing the problems we gave them for homework, I walked to the back and sat down next to him. I asked him his name and if he knew anything about fractions. He shook his head silently.

As I began to explain the basics of the denominator and numerator, Enoch listened intently. He asked questions and soon we were getting off the topic of fractions. I taught him the concept of initials and synonyms. He was just curious about all subjects.

By the time we had to leave, Enoch and I had covered something from every subject, and I told him I would see him the next day in class.

After only one week of being in Ghana, Enoch had already made my trip.

He didn’t care that he was behind, but wanted to learn just for the sake of learning. We discussed and laughed and he made me feel like I had done something amazing, when really I had just expanded on what he already knew.

Enoch is a bright boy with a bright future and knowing that I helped in some way is my best memory.

I have been home from Africa for about six months now, but the memory of Enoch remains with me each time I walk through the doors of Roxboro Community School.

His desire to learn and dedication to school is what inspires me every day.

Most students do not get the opportunity to witness the harsh realities of life without education that I did while in Ghana.

Now, just as Enoch inspired me, I aim to inspire others to understand that education is not always a right, but a privilege. And in the end, when we walk across that stage, the future in our hands, we should all remember to be thankful for that privilege.

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