EXPLORE - In middle school, I was painfully shy and extremely awkward. I was the quiet girl that blended right into the woodwork. At least that’s how I felt. I never felt I counted in any way until I developed a passion for the sport of gymnastics. It all began with Olga Korbut in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. There was a lot that went on during that Olympics, but that’s another story. Olga Korbut was darling of the media. She was the first gymnast to perform an aerial somersault on the balance beam and she won three Olympic gold medals and one silver one. My sister Audrey and I became determined to learn the gymnastic moves we saw Olga Korbut perform on TV. We practiced together, spotted each other, and eventually begged our mother to take us to the Morristown YMCA. I was never athletic, but with sheer determination and practice, I learned. My sister and I helped initiate a girls a gymnastic team in our middle school. I became a good competitor and I felt proud that my hard work paid off. CREATE - I remember one summer I was at home and I was bored. To break the monotony of doing absolutely nothing, I decided to write a poem. It wasn’t very good but it made me happy. I continued writing as a hobby and after college I decided to pursue a career that involved writing. I became a public relations writer for Lord & Taylor and later I became a freelance writer for a few small publications in New York City. I learned that writing was a lot like gymnastics. I had to push myself and stay focused if I wanted to succeed. Today I am a teacher, and I have a passion for words, writing and literature. I enjoy pushing my students and seeing the amazing work that they produce. ACHIEVE - I think my proudest moment was being awarded an athletic scholarship to college. I was not a natural athlete, but I worked hard. Many kids learned a lot faster than I did, but I worked hard, probably harder than those with natural abilities. I stuck with the sport, pushed myself, and it paid off. This focus has helped me overcome many challenges in my life. I believe that “where here is will there is a way” and I try to communicate that to my students.