STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.
Stockbridge is a village similar to many places around the state. The economy is tough, industry has gone, and the school system is one of few ways kids from the town can get a leg up. This is an inside look into this small town school district trying to make sure their kids have educational opportunity, even in the face of shrinking state aid and a tough economy. In addition to Sarah's reports, the Stockbridge project has moving and interesting radio stories, audio diaries, and photography from youth journalists at Stockbridge High School.

Stockbridge Youth Journalists: New kid in a small town

Less than a month ago, my parents decided to move my brother Jordan to a different school. Without hesitation, I told them that I was going too. My brothers and my sister are my world. Wherever they are, I want to be near. At any rate, we were going to transfer, together. A few days later, part of my life completely changed. I felt vulnerable and abnormally timid. I was the “new” kid at Stockbridge High School.

Before we enrolled, the principle was kind enough to allow us take a tour of his school. With my father, mother, and brother I stepped through the halls, peered into classrooms, and gazed in numerous windows. Students gawked at us as if we were the strangest creatures they had ever seen. 

On several occasions throughout the eighteen years of my life, I have been new. At six years old, I was the “new kid” at George Long Elementary. Ten years later I started taking a class at the Jackson Area Career Center. I was new and the only girl in class. And finally, this past summer, I was new at work. While none of those three experiences were pleasant to begin with, I am very thankful for every one of them. 

Moving to Stockbridge was an adjustment, for both my brother and I. He is a sophomore, I am a senior; we both were comfortable at our school as we were. But our old school wasn't working for him, he needed a change.

To begin with, our parents were anxious. They were repeatedly second guessing their decision. Should we have really have taken him out of Grass Lake? How will he adjust? What if his credits don’t transfer?

A month later, their fears began to subside. Academically, he is beginning to reach his full potential. And socially, he's has already made numerous new acquaintances. I thank God every day for the new opportunity he has given my brother. 

Walking into a new experience, I was so thankful to be in-step with my brother. It offered so much comfort to both of us. Later, he said he was glad not to be alone on the first day of school. “I was glad you came to Stockbridge with me, but I felt bad since you left senior year… and left ‘cause of me.”

New experiences, no matter how difficult, nerve wracking, or unpleasant make us stronger. When we don’t venture outside of where we’re familiar with, we will never grow. I’d like to think we grew a lot. Not only has Jordan been doing much better in school, he is growing into a man, whom I grow prouder of everyday.

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