Chinquapin Gala Speech

To outsiders, Chinquapin is revered as a private school that caters to disadvantaged youth and affords them a college preparatory education at minimal cost; but while this is somewhat true, to the students, Chinquapin is much more than that.

For us, Chinquapin is an escape from our often wretched home life and for many of us, it is our second home. Personally, having been at Chinquapin now for approaching four years, I can attest that Chinquapin and the people connected to it has truly enriched my life and redirected my future.

When I first came to chinquapin I was unprepared; I didn’t have effective study habits, I got into lots of trouble, I was not yet mature enough to to function responsibly away from home and eventually I was dismissed midway through my seventh grade year. After my dismissal I went to a horrible public school in my neighborhood, that was infested with drugs, violence, and poverty. Before, chinquapin had been my outlet from these conditions, but now that I was back in my neighborhood, it seemed as though my life was headed down hill. This was my wake-up call.    

I wanted to escape. I wanted to succeed, but I knew that I could not do it alone. I needed Chinquapin. Since I had been kicked out just six months earlier, I knew my chances of reacceptance were slim, but I reapplied anyway. To my chagrin, I was not accepted. I could have given up, but this did not deter me, I knew that Chinquapin was my only way out.

At this time my parents had given up on me; they turned their backs, but I worked diligently my eighth grade year, made tremendous strides to build my character, then reapplied a third time for my freshman year, and to my delight, I was reaccepted!

Since then I have  been thriving academically and have been working hard to uphold Chinquapin’s high standards.

But through my journey, what has impacted me the most is the fact that even when my family gave up on me and turned their backs, Chinquapin was willing to give me a second chance. Thanks to that second chance, I have gone from an expelled student destined for failure, to an ambitious student destined for College, and for that I will be forever grateful.

But when I think back over my life and Chinquapins contribution to it I can’t help but think that if it were not for generous people like Jen and Dan, Chinquapin could not have survived for so many years.