School choice is important for my parents, so they chose for me to attend CICS Wrightwood because of its location, family-oriented culture, and intentional educational curriculum. My sibling and I were some of the first students at CICS Wrightwood when it first opened.
I would say some of my favorite classes at CICS Wrightwood were my 6th-7thgrade literacy classes. These classes were special because I had a teacher who encouraged me to go above and beyond of what I thought was my potential. While I always loved reading, the curriculum at Wrightwood opened my eyes to the wide variety of disciplines and knowledge just gained by reading. Their literacy program, Accelerated Reader, tracked which books and words each student read. This was my favorite activity because it allowed me to actually see my growth as a student in real time – especially in what I was reading. I enjoyed seeing that because it challenged and motivated to do even better! I definitely believe knowledge is power!
The campus climate at Wrightwood is inclusive. At Wrightwood, I was constantly surrounded by teachers, students, and administrators that believed each student is capable of doing greatness. We (students) felt valued and appreciated everyday we walked through those Wrightwood hallways. Teachers were supportive and took time in their day to make you feel you can accomplish anything. This was important in the student-teacher relationship and a high priority for them because they took the time to get to know students in and outside of the classroom. I definitely remember the positive and genuine interactions with teachers and staff. They wanted to maximize your potential.
At CICS Wrightwood, I was a part of the competitive cheerleading team. I participated in this squad for three years. During this time, I was able to compete in city and state level cheerleading competitions. This experience was enjoyable because I was able to build friendships with students who were not typically in my classes. I also participated in band and played the clarinet. I enjoyed band because it gave me the discipline and experience to play an instrument, something I had not experienced before. Both of these extracurricular experiences provided me with the skills and confidence that I have to this day.
My 8thgrade teacher, Mr. Gordon, inspired me because he has a similar career path I currently do. He majored in Elementary Education and he pursued a Juris Doctorate (law degree). I was intrigued by this pursuing both degrees because I never met a lawyer who had a background in education. I always thought teachers were only focused on one career track, and that was education. Eight years later, I find myself following that same career path. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Spring of 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and will be attending law school in the Fall of 2019.
CICS Wrightwood provided me with a solid educational foundation, including skill sets and knowledge that I expanded upon when starting high school and college. The personal confidence, cultural pride and academic rigor at CICS Wrightwood was highly valuable. Growing up, one’s education is important! I also think it is critical to have great teachers who want their students to succeed.
There are so many special memories from my days at Wrightwood and they are ongoing. When I am on summer or winter break, I try to give back the love and support to current students by tutoring and volunteering my time at the school. I like to visit the Wrightwood campus and reminisce the great times I had when I was a student there. Giving back to one’s community, particularly to your alma matter is important because one needs to give the same love and support to future generations of students.
Crystal Stonewall is a CICS alumni who graduated valedictorian from CICS Wrightwood in 2011. Crystal recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spring 2019. She plans to attend the University of Wisconsin Law School this Fall 2019.