By Itiesha Dean
Third Place, Grade 4-6 Division, 2010
Itiesha has won a prize in this contest three consecutive years. She was a Fifth Place Winner in 2011 and a Fourth Place Winner in 2012.
Grade 6, Whittier Education Campus
Teacher: J. Brawley

A time in my life when I had to be resilient was when my mother was on drugs. She couldn’t take care of my little brother and I. She moved away and we didn’t see her, which made me angry. I couldn’t understand why she was doing something that was so negative; something that I know is wrong and dangerous and the cause of a lot of violence. What made the situation worse is that during this time, I had to go back and forth between family members. The situation even made its way to school. It affected my grades because I could not focus on my assignments.

Luckily for me, the anger that I felt soon changed into a commitment to keep a positive attitude. With the help of my cousin, Dashawn Barnes, my teachers, and my school counselor, I was able to turn my thoughts around and focus on the positive things in life. My cousin became my diary, with my own lock and key. I could tell her everything and trust that she would keep my feelings safe. My teachers were like my parents because they treated me like I was more than a student. My counselor was like an older friend who could help me see things in a different way.

Because of these people, I was able to develop a positive attitude. Even though there were times when I felt depressed and sad, I knew that I had to stay positive. Even when I thought I wasn’t going to have a good relationship with my mother later on in life, I had to focus on more important things, like my education.

Now, things are a little better. Because of my positive attitude, I am an honor roll student with a lot of support from my family, friends, and adults at my school. I have learned not to focus on the negative because it will cause you to stress and ruin your relationships. If you focus on the positive, then you will be able to survive by building strong relationships.