It is hard to identify a life changing moment as it happens. It usually isn’t until years after the fact that we can look back and say this exact moment led me to where I am now. There are many of these moments that I can recall and tie back to KIPP Saint Louis, but one in particular comes to mind.
After spending my middle school years at KIPP Inspire, I attended high school at an all-girls Catholic school across town, but that did not interfere with the amount of time I spent with my KIPP family. From frequent in-person visits, to random text messages just checking in, I can say that I was in contact with someone from KIPP at least once every two weeks. It wasn’t until my senior year that these texts and calls became more frequent. My college decision was on the table, and it seemed to be of everyone’s concern. At the time I recall being slightly bothered by the constant check ins making sure my applications were in on time or that I had requested my letters of recommendation early enough. Years later I can look back and appreciate the support and stability those check ins gave me.
Around this same time, I was frequently babysitting for my sixth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Odham. During our time spent together, she would often mention her own alma mater, DePauw University, and how she felt it would be a school I might be interested in. Initially I disregarded the recommendation. A small liberal arts school in Greencastle, Indiana was not what I was looking for in a college experience. After consideration I decided to apply to DePauw with the idea of hoping to have choices when it came to making my college decision.
Months later I received my acceptance letter from DePauw. Honestly, my excitement was not at an all- time high. The school still was not one of my top choices, and I was still waiting to hear back from other universities. It wasn’t until Mrs. Odham offered to drive me three hours to visit the school during one of their admitted student events that I was able to begin to see myself attending DePauw.
Four years later I frequently wonder where I would be if I had not agreed to babysit for Mrs. Odham that year, or if she had not taken time out of her own schedule to take me to Greencastle. Attending DePauw has given me opportunities and connections that I know few schools would have been able to offer me. I view my college decision as one of the best that I have made. It is important to acknowledge the impact KIPP and people such as Mrs. Odham have had on ensuring I made it to the point in my academic career that I am at today.