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Semester spent at Forest Hill Academy teaches student to ‘become a great person’

Don%27t+judge+a+book+by+its+bad+parts%3A+Sarah+Taylor+and+Nicole+Williams%2C+who+spent+a+semester+at+Forest+Hill+Academy+after+being+kicked+out+of+Grady+during+their+ninth+grade+year%2C+disagree+with+the+stigma+placed+on+alternative+school+students.
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Semester spent at Forest Hill Academy teaches student to ‘become a great person’

Don't judge a book by its bad parts: Sarah Taylor and Nicole Williams, who spent a semester at Forest Hill Academy after being kicked out of Grady during their ninth grade year, disagree with the stigma placed on alternative school students.

Don't judge a book by its bad parts: Sarah Taylor and Nicole Williams, who spent a semester at Forest Hill Academy after being kicked out of Grady during their ninth grade year, disagree with the stigma placed on alternative school students.

Don't judge a book by its bad parts: Sarah Taylor and Nicole Williams, who spent a semester at Forest Hill Academy after being kicked out of Grady during their ninth grade year, disagree with the stigma placed on alternative school students.

Don't judge a book by its bad parts: Sarah Taylor and Nicole Williams, who spent a semester at Forest Hill Academy after being kicked out of Grady during their ninth grade year, disagree with the stigma placed on alternative school students.

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Don’t judge a book by its bad parts: Sarah Taylor and Nicole Williams, who spent a semester at Forest Hill Academy after being kicked out of Grady during their ninth grade year, disagree with the stigma placed on alternative school students.

BY SARAH TAYLOR It was a normal day in French class. My teacher was half-teaching the class stories in French and half-telling us personal stories that had nothing to do with what we were learning. I was trying my hardest to keep my seemingly thousand pound eyelids open as my teacher began telling us stories about when he was a history teacher at an alternative school. My eyes shut and I was about to let me head fall into my arms that were propped up on my desk so I could rest until he was done with his story when I heard him say, “The students there are bad people, that’s why they were sent there.”

In that instant I though back to the semester I spent at Forest Hill Academy, the alternative school I was sent to after being expelled from Grady High School my ninth grade year. I thought about the people in that school; all my friends and all the teachers that taught me more about my subjects and more about myself than I ever knew before.

I was suddenly anything but tired. I was enraged, frustrated, annoyed and most of all, disappointed. That moment made me realize that my former classmates and I were categorized in a stereotype that if you’ve been to alternative school you were a bad person.

It was disappointing to know that someone who was an educated adult and was teaching me could say something as ignorant as that.

I don’t think that anyone I knew in that school was even slightly a bad person. Sure everyone there made a bad decision by doing things like getting into fights, selling drugs, doing drugs, being disobedient, being defiant or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. But I will just not accept that any of those things automatically make you a bad person.

People shouldn’t judge others on the bad things they’ve done, they should judge them on what they did about the bad things they’ve done.

The reason I wouldn’t consider the people I knew in alternative “bad people” is because they were all fully aware that what they did was wrong and they all wanted to change. They were learning from their mistakes and becoming better and so was I.

 I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that sometimes things happen in life that stop your world, put you face to face with your problems and give you no choice but to fix them, and that’s what getting kicked out of school did for me.

If I could go back in time and stop myself from doing what I did to get expelled, I wouldn’t. I needed a wakeup call. 

I didn’t care about school, my family, or even myself. I never went to class, I had horrible grades and I didn’t listen to my parents when they told me to just try. I couldn’t even give them that, I couldn’t even “just try. “ I was so scared to try because trying and failing seemed worse to me than just failing and knowing why. I hated knowing how disappointed my parents were. I knew I could do better, I knew I had so much potential but I couldn’t stop thinking I wasn’t good enough or smart enough.

Getting kicked out and going to Forest Hill Academy was the best thing that ever happened to me. The people I met throughout that process helped me realize that my attitude and my habit wouldn’t get me anywhere in life but a jail cell. My teachers taught me more than just the subjects, they taught me that I am smart and I can do great in school. My peers taught me that you can’t judge a book until you’ve read it all the way through and the lessons you learned from being your worst are what help you become your best.

George Eliot once said, “It is never too late to be who you could have been. “That quote is written on a post-it note and is stuck to my bathroom mirror. I see it every morning and it’s a reminder that I’m becoming who I’ve always wanted to be.

I’m now confident in going to school. I make all A’s and B’s and even got elected for the Governors Honor Program for excelling in math. I cut out people in my life that were bringing me down and now surround myself with people who care about my well-being. I even did something I thought id never be able to do and that was to impress my family. I wanted to know my parents could brag about me to people and say they have an amazing daughter and now they can. I couldn’t be happier with myself.

 You can’t judge someone off of one mistake they’ve made. Everyone messes up and its up to them if they want to learn from their mistake or not. You can’t decide if someone’s a “bad person” until you know their whole story and know the mistakes they’ve made and know what they’ve done about it.

 I don’t think going to alternative school makes me a bad person, I just think I was a good person who made bad decision and become a great person.

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Semester spent at Forest Hill Academy teaches student to ‘become a great person’