At ESK, we love to hear about the successes of our alumni. Alexa McCarren, a current sophomore at The Baylor School in Chattanooga, recently told us about her commitment to community service and participation in the Honors Program. The lessons she learned at ESK, both in the classroom and on character, have influenced her to strive to do her best academically, guided her on how to live peacefully in a dorm with others, and taught her that making connections with others is invaluable.
How was your school year? Tell us what year you’ll be in 2018-2019.
Alexa: My first year was fantastic! I will be going into 10th grade this fall.
Which clubs, sports, extracurriculars, and service are you involved in on and off campus at Baylor?
Alexa: I do community service as my after school activity. I tutor a really sweet girl named Corryanna. She is 10 and is starting her first year of middle school this fall! I help her with her homework, and sometimes we just draw. I am also involved in a program called the Harris Stanford Honors Program, which is the scholars program at Baylor. They take us on trips and show us how to become involved in our community, focusing mostly on government. We were fortunate enough to be able to visit a jail as well as visit Tennessee’s capitol building in Nashville, where we spoke with several Senators.
How did ESK prepare you for an academically rigorous high school experience?
Alexa: ESK prepared me in more ways than I realized at the time. I am able to handle the workload at Baylor, and I learned to put myself out there in the community to get involved. My teachers at ESK helped me learn how to take tests and notes that improved my experience as well.
What was it like to transition from ESK to Baylor?
Alexa: It was definitely different coming from such a small school that I had gone to for nine years to a school that was two hours away from home where I was completely reliant on myself. But ESK showed me how to be a better person, how to form relationships with my teachers, and how to excel in my academic life. There is no doubt that all of those reasons have helped me to do well at Baylor.
What is your favorite memory or tradition from ESK?
Alexa: I have so many great memories from my nine years there that it is so difficult to pick one. But a more recent one is from eighth grade when we did food packaging and delivering for homebound and elderly people. I remember how much fun we all had working together to pack everything, each group trying to beat the other groups. As we delivered the packages, we met some incredibly sweet people who would invite us into their homes and would ask us questions. No one ever complained because we all had so much fun helping our community and giving back.
Did you have a favorite teacher or class while at ESK? Why was he or she your favorite?
Alexa: I don’t know that I had a favorite teacher or class but all of my eighth grade teachers were the best. All of them encouraged us to be the best that we could be, helped us when we needed it the most, and knew how to teach us in a way that we would understand.
What advice do you have for current ESK students, especially 8th graders who are preparing to transition to high school?
Alexa: I would say that you have to know how to put yourself out there and make connections. Believe it or not, there are people out there that are exactly like you and could become your closest friend or favorite teacher or role model. It’s just up to you to make those connections. Connections like these can make all the difference in your high school and academic career.
Do you ever encounter a situation that makes you think back to the Tribe Agreements?
Alexa: All the time! It’s funny how I still know that song by heart. Living in a dorm with 24 other girls can definitely put your patience to the test. You live in very confined quarters with some of your closest friends so you end up learning how to respect each other, listen to one another’s views when you may not agree, and how to let go and move on because, in the end, you are still going to have to live with them. Baylor has something similar to ESK called the honor code which you must uphold. It reminds us to respect everyone’s opinions, treat everyone with mutual respect, always be truthful, and never cheat.
Thank you for your insights, Alexa! We are thrilled to hear how well you are doing at Baylor, and wish you all the best for your sophomore year!