My Building Blocks for Life (2009 Thesis #7)

(Fairhaven School has just graduated seven students. As a way to celebrate the class of 2009, over the next month, we will be posting the theses that they  successfully defended. Below is a brief description outlining how somebody earns a Fairhaven diploma, followed by the seventh and final thesis. Enjoy!

Students who have spent at least three years at Fairhaven School may earn a diploma by defending the thesis that they have prepared themselves to become effective adults in the larger community. Diploma candidates must declare their intent to graduate and answer questions at a special winter Assembly of parents, students, staff and public members. They also meet with their individual graduation committees, and defend their written theses before a Diploma Committee made up of three experienced staff members from other Sudbury schools. A majority of positive votes from the Committee is the final requirement of  the diploma process.)

My Building Blocks for Life

My name is David Shigeru Yamamoto Hepner.

I think an effective adult is someone who can make it on their own outside of school without the help of someone else. I have been attending Fairhaven for three years now; I decided to go to Fairhaven School because I don’t do well in the traditional school system. I feel I am an effective adult because I have all the tools and experiences I need to keep moving forward in my life.
I was about eight years old when I went to be tested for ADHD and Dyslexia. Over time, I have learned to not let them slow me down. I have found ways to have fun in school and life. I have found things that I like doing to make learning easier for me. I learn better when using subjects that I like such as sciences and history. I also am a kinesthetic learner and if I can do hands on work I will be really involved.

I wasn’t a very social kid in 9th grade I didn’t have the time. I was spending all of my free time on my school work and then some, so when I got here it allowed me to be who I am. I like to meet new people and converse and learn new things. It is interesting to hear about their lives, what they were like when they were my age, the different kinds of jobs they had, also the places they have been and the experiences they had there. these talks help me know find what I want to be and what I want to do in my life.

I have had a job for two years now; I work at a retirement community called Glen Meadows. I was hired as a server, but I do lots of things there, such as dishwashing and helping in the kitchen. It’s really nice because I really like to cook and being around real cooks is fun and educational. I can ask questions and learn about it and how to cook on my own. I work Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sundays, and I try to pick up shifts whenever I can. Each shift is about three to four hours. With the money I make I pay for my food and my own gas. I also pay for my insurance and maintenance for my car.

The first two years I went to Fairhaven I lived with my aunt Ruthy, because I live so far from school. This year I have had my license and drive back and forth from Baltimore. I drive about 60 miles to school and about 60 miles back home on Thursdays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I stay with my fellow student Zack Bennett. The time and effort I take shows the responsibility I have and the dedication I have to the school.

Now, I know you have my JC record. I know it’s really crazy, but every mistake, I have made I learned from. When I was written up for smashing a can of Axe I didn’t think it was dangerous at all. Now I look back and see it could have really hurt someone. When I didn’t put up the M sign on the door when I was playing an M rated game, some little kid like Sasha could have walked in and seen the game we were playing. As I have gotten to know Sasha and Wes I have realized I want to be a good role model so they can grow up to be good people. I was also written up for signing out on a food run to go get Zack Bennett when I only had my provisional license. I think being written up has helped me realize that I am responsible for my actions. Now when I think “hey lets go do something dumb”, in my head I say “wait you have little kids that look up to you”. Do I want them to think what I am doing is ok, and for them to go do it too?

Next year I want to go to Essex Community College. I know it’s that other little push I need to keep my self going and growing up and become a better person. I plan on attending for two years and getting the basic courses out of the way. I think it will help me find what I want to do in my life. Right now I feel interest in culinary, medicine, biology and mechanical engineering. After the two years I want to test out to the college that has the major that I want.  Through this time I will continue to work and support myself.

I think I have already started to become a better person while at Fairhaven.  I want to continue moving forwards in my life toward my goals of living on my own and working my way through school.

David Hepner