Back in September, when I very first arrived here, I was skeptical that I would grow close to my classmates; however, now that the year is coming to an end, it is hard for me to bear the thought that I will be leaving them. We have all become friends and are practically like family. In fact, I do consider these people to be family. Our experiences at FMA have brought us together, and that is something I hope I will never forget. Over the year we have come to know each other so well, building a connection, which cannot be shared with anyone else. These brothers of mine have taught me so many things, such as how to look at the positive side of any situation, what true friendship means, and, most importantly, that I should be myself and not be ashamed of who I am. During this year, I have changed and now I welcome the friendly comments and even the teasing about the way I walk or the way my hair looks, knowing they are light-hearted and not meant to hurt or humiliate me. I have learned to accept myself and that has naturally increased my acceptance of others.

Here are a few examples of what each student has taught me this year:

Mitch has demonstrated how to be proud of one’s self and never be embarrassed.

Joshua has demonstrated the ability to sit quietly and read, while also looking for ways to improve himself.

Jacob has demonstrated the willingness to provide a helping hand and the encouragement to do more than necessary.

Edo has demonstrated the power of humor and the ability to make any situation better just by smiling.

Aiden has demonstrated the willingness to do things without being asked and how to maintain a positive attitude while doing them.

Liam has demonstrated the importance of having fun while still accomplishing goals.

Ralph has demonstrated the willingness to encourage others to work better and to get faster and stronger. He is the determined voice who disciplines me.

Carlisle has demonstrated resilience and the infinite number of ways one can stay entertained.

I am very grateful to my classmates for helping me grow throughout this year. We are brothers, and that will last forever.

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