Michael Wolfe

It’s hard to give a speech reflecting on a highschool that is so new to me, so instead, I thought that I could share the story of my life which may help others better understand me better. Change is the undergoing theme of life, it affects everyone. My life has changed so much and it is important to see the person you were and the person you have become. Many of my best memories have the worst endings, but they have changed me to be a more understanding and caring individual.

When I was younger, I mostly lived with my grandmother. My biological father was absent in my life and my biological mother was a drug addict who knew little about caring for a child. My mother would constantly bring me to my grandmother when she did not want to care for me. 

My grandmother is thoughtful and she took care of me every time she had the chance. She taught me to read and write and took me to school every day. After constant times having to care for me, my grandmother knew that my mother was not fit to raise me any longer. 

My grandmother took this to the courts, where she fought against my mother for custody over me. Sadly, the courts deemed my grandmother too old to be able to take care of me, but my grandmother persisted and took my mother to the courts again, and this time she presented my Aunt and Uncle who would be applying to be my permanent guardians. After a week in court, my grandmother won the case and I had new parents.

My grandmother and I moved out of our house in California and into our new house, with my new parents, in New York. My grandmother continued to help me with my homework and made me a proficient writer. She was fully invested in every aspect of my life, taking me to sports practice, making me dinner, and helping me study for school. 

We were very happy living until my grandmother was struck ill with cancer. Although I know everything that happened now, I did not back then. When my grandmother became ill, I thought that it was fine and that she would get better in a couple of days, but she was admitted into the hospital and had to go into surgery. I was scared and confused. I was allowed to visit my grandmother a couple of times after her surgery, but when I did, it made me even sadder. My grandmother kept mentioning “Enjoying our time together now,” and continued to say how much she loved me. This broke my heart and it broke my father's heart too. He sat by her bed for an entire week as he tried to make her feel safe and loved. The fact that I did not know the outcome of my grandmother’s conditions made me scared. I felt desperate and weak not being able to help my grandmother as she had done for me many times before. Finally, we found out that my grandmother needed to move back to California where she would move in with my father’s sister. I felt lost and broken knowing that my grandmother would be leaving me and not explaining why. I thought that I did something wrong and I felt lonelier than ever and scared of the future. 

After her move, I talked to my grandmother and she explained that she hadn’t been feeling well, but the doctor had fixed her. I felt mad as my grandmother kept thinking that I was immature and could not handle the truth. I thought that I could handle anything as my third-grade self sat with the phone against my ear wanting to cry. I was angry at my grandmother for not telling me everything was going to be alright, but I understood because she was scared of what would happen to her. I decided to care for my grandmother and make her feel that I would always be there for her. Our connection remained strong and we continued to talk all the time. My life continued in its normal way without any changes or any conflict. It stayed the same until the fall of my junior year. 

My father told me and my sister at that time that we would be moving back to California, as he found a better position at his firm. My sister and I were devastated, but nevertheless, we continued the school year amongst our battles with the pandemic. This made it harder to see friends and go on with our normal lives. Despite this, we made the best of the summer and transferred into new schools at the start of my senior year.  Although we started the year online, Rolling Hills Prep has made me feel welcome and given me an excellent opportunity for this year. I’ve met many great people, students and faculty, and have made the best out of the situation we are all in. 

Change is sometimes terrible and comes at the worst times, but it alters you as a person and teaches you lessons. To be honest, when I was younger, I was never taught the importance of growth and how change brings new opportunities. Instead, I thought as a child and immaturely wanted things to stay the same, as my life underwent constant change. I am thankful for everything that has happened to me since it has helped me see the world differently and I sincerely appreciate the people who fight for my well being. I now know that when there is a loss, growth is sure to come, and am grateful for the mistakes I have made and the boundaries I have overcome. I now have a desire to help others like I was helped. Overall, change is hard, but it makes you appreciate the finer moments and helps you avoid taking for granted the people who come into your life.