By Abigail Chang, ’14 alumna who served on the Westfield Capital Management Team

If you met Davis* ten months ago, you probably wouldn’t recognize him now. He may physically look the same, but he is such a different student and person, it’s hard to believe how much he has changed. Here are five ways Davis has grown this year.

1. Self-Discipline

At the start of the year, Davis’s modus operandi was primarily napping and messing around in class. These days, however, he sits up tall and focuses on the lesson his teacher is giving. He participates and makes relevant, valuable contributions to the discussion.

2. Work Ethic

In his days of constant distraction in class, Davis needed someone reminding him to finish his work. He would only do his homework if a teacher or a corps member was watching him. Nowadays, he doesn’t need to be reminded. He takes the initiative to complete all of his homework. Looking at his notebook, full of work, is really a beautiful thing, and it is just one visual representation of how much he has grown since the beginning of 8th grade.

3. Reading Fluency

I remember listening to Davis reading aloud early in the year. He would break sentences into two-word chunks, his pronunciation choppy. His pauses between paragraphs were exactly the same length as his pauses between sentences. Nowadays, his reading aloud skills are fluid, and paragraphs are situated comfortable distances from each other. This smooth reading aloud helps his listeners understand the text better.

4. Comfort With Being Uncomfortable

This quality of Davis’ is one of his most extraordinary because being comfortable with being uncomfortable is rare among 8th graders everywhere. Early on, Davis did not like to do difficult things such as read challenging texts or tackling comprehension questions. Now, however, he is very publicly comfortable with his own discomfort. He is not afraid to ask the teacher questions when he is confused, and he readily jumps into texts and topics he knows little about—eager and ready to learn.

5. Maturity

Davis had an interesting tactic earlier in the year for dealing with his frustration. He would sit near enough for me to hear him whisper, then he would make raps about how he was really mad, expressing all his frustration in a semi-audible mutter. He has since learned to directly talk to me when something is frustrating him.

However, the greatest mark of his new maturity is in how clearly Davis is now focusing on the big picture. I can see in his increased work ethic and in his conversations about high school that he has big plans for his future. He’s prepared to reach those goals.

*Name changed to protect student privacy.

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