An Unexpected Letter
Even though she had written the letter, she wasn’t prepared for the words she found inside. As a freshman in high-school Claire wrote herself a letter which she opened her senior year. “I will always be the shy, quiet girl who always listens and never talks,” she predicted four years earlier.
Sometimes we don’t notice how much we’ve changed until we’re reminded of who we used to be. Claire remembered not believing in herself, but it wasn’t until she read her own words that she understood the fullest extent of her fourteen-year-old self-doubt.
At the beginning of her junior year, Claire transferred from Lincoln High School in South Dakota to Grace Prep in State College, Pennsylvania. Even though Claire joined the soccer team and immediately got involved in student leadership, she still missed her South Dakota school. So for most of her eleventh grade year, Claire focused on academics, leaving her heart in South Dakota with her old friends.
But it wasn’t until she visited her old friends that she realized she was different. In her year at Grace Prep, she had grown in ways she never expected.
As a joke Claire’s friend from Sioux Falls, SD greeted her with a “congratulations on completing rehab” sign at the airport when Claire went back to South Dakota for a visit. It wasn’t until later in her senior year that Claire perceived Grace Prep was her rehab. So Claire returned to Grace Prep for her senior year with a new outlook on the difficult move halfway across the country.
When she finally read her freshman letter, Claire learned she found the voice she was so afraid would never be heard. Grace Prep requires all seniors to complete a demanding project. Claire spearheaded a Spanish-immersion class and led the upper-level Spanish students on a language-immersion missions trip to Ecuador. Her voice was heard in English and Spanish. The excellence she poured into her project was not only a testimony to her character, but also to her newly found confidence.
Claire’s life is a living letter because she learned the letter she wrote to herself no longer had power. The doubts she faced as a freshman in high school faded as the Grace Prep family cheered her on while she guided her peers in Spanish in the Amazon jungle. Her voice was created by God to speak hope to the nations at Grace Prep she’s already done it in English and Spanish. Today, Claire continues to shine as a pre-med student at Penn State’s Schreyer Honor College.