We are made from all the little things that touched our lives along the way and it's such a great idea to focus on those influences.
Of course my parents helped shape who I am, especially my mother. She's amazing and still helps me be the mother I am today and hopefully someday to be a mother like her. But, the person I want to tell you about is a teacher, Ms. Aberle.
I started high school late. I had 4 surgeries my freshman year and I knew exactly one person from my ward and the rest of the 5A school was filled with strangers. I was shy and awkward and didn't seem to be making friends when I went to an after school meeting with a guy I had a crush on and was hooked. It was for debate. I signed up for the next year's class and didn't realize that that one act would forever change my life.
I started the class my Junior year and discovered I had a gift for research and arguing cases. Ms. Aberle challenged me and pushed me. I fought back and learned my own strengths and gained self esteem. By the end of my Junior year, my partner and I had won just about every competition we'd entered and were now the President and Vice President of the school's large debate team. The last week of school that year, Ms. Aberle announced the school would send 2 students to an exclusive debate camp during the summer, 1 boy and 1 girl and she'd chosen me to be the girl to represent the school. It was such a wonderful opportunity and I learned so much.
Senior year Ms. Aberle started pushing me harder than ever. That year my partner and I made it to District in CX debate and the same day I went to prom I placed 8th in state in persuasive public speaking. A week later I won 2 scholarships, one in debate and one from Toastmasters International in public speaking. Combined, they were enough to get me through college.
Because of Ms. Aberle and debate, I gained self confidence and know that I have talents and gifts that I would not have known about otherwise. She didn't allow me to coast through and just get the credit, like I had originally wanted, and forced me to work with people and in situations that were out of my comfort zone. Through her I met some of my best friends. So much of who I am today was shaped during those 2 years in her classroom, travelling on the road competing and leading her team. For that I'm forever grateful!