~ By Jessica Andelin Atwater,
My fifth grade year, I rode an emotional roller-coaster. In Mrs. Harris’s class at E.A. Harrold Elementary School, Millington, Tennessee, I was the youngest and smallest student. I was the Hermione Granger of our school, complete with frizzy brown hair, hand in the air, nose in a book, and rejection by other students.
At ten years old, I was acutely aware of how others perceived me. Those “tween” years reside in the uncomfortable space of awakening social conscious; the burgeoning ability to look outside yourself comes with your first perceptions of others perceptions of you. And for me, that first look scarred my heart. Others my age didn’t like my eager interest in books, my desire to talk about the things I had learned, or the things I was thinking about. Knowing things and wanting to talk about them made me “stuck up,” “teacher’s pet,” “weird,” and worst of all “know-it-all.”