Ever since I was little I found it extremely challenging to speak in front of an audience, or even just a small group of people. Whether I was stepping up onto a stage or walking to the front of the classroom to speak, I could feel my face burn with heat. Butterflies seemed to be having a party in my stomach. I felt short of breath and so anxious that I just wanted to disappear. Public speaking is still a challenging task for me, but since I have come to St. Anne's it has become easier and easier every day. The safe environment and love I have felt from my teachers and classmates ever since the start of 6th grade, have put me at ease. I know that they would never make fun of my tomato red face or criticize me if I ever messed up my speech. Instead, they challenge me to be better every day and encourage me even if I don't do as well as I would have liked. They give me their full attention when I am speaking and make me feel like I am being listened to. The amount of public speaking requirements we have at St. Anne's is a little daunting for someone who doesn't like to be on display. But, I am very glad that we have so many opportunities for that because every time I go to give a speech in LA, present a slide about my Spanish-speaking country, help lead chapel with my advisory, present my science fair project to the judges, or participate in student-led conferences, I feel more and more confident. I am in 8th grade now. As I think about the number of times this year I will get up in front of an audience and speak, instead of feeling anxious or scared, I think of it as an amazing opportunity to grow and be challenged and I have St. Anne's to thank for that.