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I give one last thank you to anyone who ever gave my articles even a small glance

PMG FILE PHOTO - Calli MastersIn just two short months, I will be setting up my college dorm, ready to start pre-season training for soccer. As a new Bostonian, West Linn will become the place I return to for holidays and vacations, but I will always think of it as home. So much of what I owe my childhood and character to lies in our small city, and I will be forever grateful for all those that contributed to my life while I grew up.

For example, I distinctly remember each one of my teachers because they were all essential to my academic growth in different ways. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wilhelm, saw my love for reading at a higher level and challenged me to read books different than my classmates, jump-starting my fondness of books at a young age. In second grade, Mrs. Fordyce watched me breeze through math worksheets, spurring her to introduce me to other math puzzles like Sudoku that I still enjoy today. My middle school Spanish teacher, Mr. Percival, was the first language teacher whose lessons made me interested in the challenge that learning a new language provides. I could tell an anecdote about every teacher that I've had for the past 13 years because each held a unique influence on my education and the development of my passions.

There are small things, too, that shaped my upbringing. My bus driver, Mr. Ed, greeted me with a "good morning" every single school day for about 10 years, always making sure my brother and I got home safely. My youth soccer coach, Heather Combs, played a huge role in my development as a player, recognizing a spark of talent that could grow into real skill with the right mentorship. She also provided me me first job as a referee, providing me all the support and opportunities I needed to be successful.

This community brought me football games and cheering in unison with my friends and the hundreds of other fans on a freezing Friday night, playing haphazardly to one of Mr. Egan's pep-band charts. The community gave me my teammates and coaches that I am incredibly grateful for who let me grow as a leader and a player. West Linn offered wonderful parks, great mentors and place for me to explore all of my interests. To each person who made the community I grew up have a positive impact on my life, whether it was a smile at the grocery store or a complement in the hallways, I want to thank you.

This being my final article, I would like to end it with a single thought that might help you grow as well. I encourage all of you to listen with an open mind. Obviously, this is something easier said than done. As an extremely stubborn person with strong beliefs, this is something I had to teach myself to do, but I truly believe that it has benefited my life and made me a more understanding and aware person. You are never too old to have your mind changed, and you are never too young to develop your beliefs. Be confident in your convictions, but be willing to have them challenged. I give one last thank you to anyone who ever gave my articles even a small glance, and I hope that I was able to teach you something new, make you think a little deeper, or give you a different perspective.

Calli Masters is a senior at West Linn High School.


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