My elementary and middle school experiences at Ashbrook profoundly shaped me as a student and person. New experiences were daunting as a shy child, yet I looked forward to the small class sizes, welcoming teachers, and friendly faces among my peers and mentors. I remember looking up to my older sister’s teachers, eager for the day that I would be in Middle School because of the immersive and engaging lessons she would recount to me. My MS electives helped me unlock hobbies and passions that I invest in to this day.
Ashbrook helped me become a successful high school student. I still remember coming home after the first week, shocked that I was one of the few students in class who would consistently raise my hand and engage in discussions. Ashbrook built my confidence so that I could be comfortable sharing in a new school with larger class sizes. Ashbrook also provided me with the strong friendships that shaped my social life in high school as I tried out new extracurricular activities, and I am proud to say those friendships will be coming up on their 20-year anniversary.
After graduating high school, I pursued a Bachelors of Arts in Integrated Educational Studies at Chapman University in California. In college, I was drawn to the people who consistently engaged and participated in class like me, and I built strong relationships that mirrored the ones I had at Ashbrook. I also thank Ashbrook for helping me develop healthy and respectful relationships with mentors so I could successfully network with professors and supervisors. I graduated cum laude in 2019, with double minors in Psychology and Language & Literacy, and then earned a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction in an accelerated program, graduating in the summer of 2020.
As I am wrapping up my first year as a professional teacher, I keep reflecting on how my educational journey is one of the most full-circle parts of my life. The teachers at Ashbrook and the magic they created for me out of education led me to follow in their footsteps. So, thank you, Ashbrook, for helping me become the student, friend, graduate, teacher, and person that I am proud to be.
~Carly Croft, 2011 graduate of Ashbrook