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Alumni Testimonials

More Than a School

by Andy

In August of 2006, I went to a large public school. It was a terrifying experience. I remember being dropped off at the classroom door. I was crying by the fear of leaving my mom, and going into a classroom of strangers that didn't give me the care and love that only parents have. Both of my parents were searching for the right private school for me.


In October, my dad showed me a brochure of the Montessori School of East Orlando. It looked like a petite private school, which was exactly what I wanted. The public school was too big. I felt like an ordinary M&M in a factory where they’re all the same color and everyone learns the same thing at the same time and we’re treated like we’re all the same person; but we are all different colored M&Ms, and we all like to do certain things differently, which forms every one of us into our own unique color.


In the same month, my dad drove me to the tiny school on the very edge of a small shopping center. The plan was for my dad to go to Winn-Dixie while I tried the school to see if I like it. Once we walked inside, I felt like a new dog in a dog park. The students were greeting me with excitement of having another classmate. Unlike the public school, I wasn’t very scared. I remember the class sitting in a circle, then I was invited to be part of the circle. That’s when I felt like I would be able to go to this school without any of my parents. The classroom was still a room full of strangers, but it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as public school. I told my dad that he could go to Winn-Dixie as he was standing near the door proudly watching me become an MSEO student.


After Morning Meeting, I remember being taught about bead bars, and how to make them into a triangle. That was my first Montessori lesson. I was also taught to read, count, and learn about the continents. There was a song that helped me remember the continents, and where they were on the map. I was always getting new lessons using unique materials, such as bead bars. The students were treated differently based on how they were. We could do different things at different times. I easily felt like I was a unique color M&M. Learning from the method of Maria Montessori is completely different than learning the usual way without materials.


I continued to go to MSEO through first, second, and third grade. When I was going into first grade, MSEO moved to a different area nearby. The size of the school grew larger, but nowhere near the size of public school.


In the third grade year, I felt like I could go back to public school for fourth grade. Once I went back to public, I badly regretted my choice. I was hardly learning new things. They were teaching me things I had already learned in Montessori School. One of the only things I learned was what it felt like for people not to like me. It was one of the worst feelings I have ever had. I felt lonely even though the school had about 700 students. All of the 700 students either didn’t like me, or didn’t know me.  The only benefit of people thinking that I’m a disgusting classmate that never talks is the luxury of students giving me plenty of personal space, especially when I eat at the cafeteria. It felt kind of hurtful, but I took advantage of it.


The teachers were great, except my P.E. teacher.  She wanted me to walk normally when a love bug was crawling at the bottom of my shoe. There was no way I was going to smush that innocent love bug. That’s when I thought of my MSEO's P.E. teacher, Ms. Holly who would never tell me to kill a living species.  


The long, horrible school year eventually ended, so I came back to MSEO for fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. I was hoping this school would teach through high school, college, and even build MSEO retirement homes. Even if they did, I probably wouldn’t be going to this school, anyway, because I’m moving to California tomorrow. I plan on visiting this school when I go on a vacation to Florida. It has taught me so much about the subjects that I need to learn in order to live a life that will bring me pure happiness.


I have had an amazing eight years at the Montessori School of East Orlando. Every year I went to MSEO, it left special memories that I will always remember. I will always mentally be a student at MSEO. If this school never existed, I would have had a completely different childhood leaving scalding memories that would haunt me for years. The Montessori School of East Orlando saved my childhood in so many ways that would take many more paragraphs to explain. I know that this property won’t be destroyed into more roads. I’m a pessimist and I feel optimistic about this situation, because a lot of people don't know how great this school is. I am so thankful for Maria Montessori, my parents, and the family that bloomed MSEO into a magnificent place that is much more than a school.

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