This I Believe

Shana - Rancho Mirage, California
Entered on June 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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The Golden Chance

In most situations during our school years, we are given one opportunity to show what we have learned. The school system is set up in a very strict manner for teaching, studying, and testing. These rules were established to allow the teacher to perform their jobs. When I was about 13 years old I began to have serious breathing problems requiring special medical care. This condition was asthma, and from that time till now, has affected my ability to perform many tasks. Although I tried my hardest throughout high school, there were many days where I either missed or had to leave school early. At those times I had to use a respiratory machine or be taken to the hospital for special care. Unfortunately the school system had no exceptions for others like myself.

During my junior year my condition became worse after my family and I moved into a rental house. This house was later found to have mold that aggravated my asthma which kept me sick much of the time. One of the classes I struggled with during this year was Spanish. I missed a lot of days of class and was unable to keep current with assignments and testing. As a result, I lost my chance to prove myself and earn a good grade. I decided to ask for special help from the teacher. After speaking with her about my medical problem and the reasons why I was absent; she showed understanding and allowed me a second chance. The end result let me have the additional time needed to make up my assignments and missed tests. I ended up achieving an A grade.

Another time in my life, when I was 15 years old, I was a member of the Mavericks All Star cheerleading team. Normal practices were quite difficult and when I had breathing problems the coach excused me and allowed me special opportunities to participate. In the next year I got stronger and became the team captain. This all happened because I shared my medical problem with my coach and given a second opportunity.

I believe that when there are special circumstances which may help a person prove that they deserve a second chance in school, sports, or any other activity, the person should be open and share their problem. In my situation, the decision to share my medical secret with my teacher created an exception that gave me a second chance and allowed me to succeed. There are people who have medical problems like myself. Other kids who may have financial problems at home that force them to work everyday after school. I also know many situations where there is only one parent and the student is forced to baby-sit the other kids. Each of these situations takes time and affects their ability to study, homework, and prepare for tests. I feel that if these special circumstances were shared with teachers, then many needed students will be able to deserve the second chance in order to succeed.