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Bangs curled under and teased, wire-rimmed glasses, braces with colorful rubber bands — that was me in middle school.
For whatever reason, I’ve been reminiscing about those years, 1997 and 1998 to be exact, a lot lately.
Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of speaking to Mrs. Lisa Winfrey’s classes at Anderson County Middle School. This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve talked to her students and it’s always a wonderful experience.
Starting middle school isn’t the easiest transition. Back in ‘97, my middle school only consisted of seventh and eighth graders.
Seventh grade was a tough year for me. At least I remember it that way. It was the first time I recall being self-conscious. Even as a straight-A cheerleader, I worried about being cool and meeting everyone else’s expectations.
I did not attend my seventh grade prom. Instead, on prom night, I went to Wal-Mart with my mom. To this day, I specifically remember being worried about someone seeing me on prom night at Wal-Mart with my mother. You see, Wal-Mart just wasn’t cool back then.
Looking back, it’s easy to realize how silly that was.
I shared that story with at least one of Mrs. Winfrey’s classes and urged her students not to be that way. The only thing not cool about that story is that I allowed something to make me feel inferior.
At the end of the day in Mrs. Winfrey’s class, as the students were waiting for the final bell to ring, they all stood in a circle and played a game.
I commented to Mrs. Winfrey that it was great to see the whole class come together. At least for a few minutes, it seemed like they were all equal.
Oh, how much middle school, high school and even the world would change if we could all act like those students.
My 13-year-old self felt a little redemption that day.
Follow Shannon Mason Brock at Twitter.com/ANewsSBrock.