Ardrey Kell. Those two words, synonymous with new school,O made my stomach turn. Switching schools, in the middle of high school, was a nightmare. But in one of the nationOs fastest growing cities, Charlotte, North Carolina, I had no choice. New schools were being hastily scraped together everywhere, and I was re-zoned to a new school. After two years of establishing my leadership and participation roles at Providence High School, I would have to make new friends, meet new teachers, and, worst of all, join new clubs and activities at Ardrey Kell. Suffice to say, I was not too thrilled at the prospect of changing schools. I had learned to love my old school. I loved everything about it, from the black and gold school colors to the panther mascot. And I was trading in all my school pride for a purple knight, the trademark of my new high school.
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When I first walked into the front hall of Ardrey Kell on August 26, 2006, I looked at the garishly gleaming walls of clashing color palettes, took note of the countless suits of armor lined up against the walls, and I realized I had no hope. None at all. And rightly so. All the clubs and extracurricular activities that I had been involved in at Providence, such as Spanish Club, Key Club, and marching band, did not exist. All the leadership positions I had worked so hard to attain over the past two years meant nothing here, at my new purple prison. Frustrated, I moaned and groaned for about a week. Finally, it dawned on me. An epiphany of sorts, I realized that I had two choices: I could complain and ruin my last two years of high school, or I could embrace my new situation and try to enjoy my time at Ardrey Kell. I decided to choose the latter. I took the initiative and started talking to teachers and administrators about my ideas for the school. With the help of my Spanish teacher, I established the Ardrey Kell Spanish Club. I laid the groundwork for a club constitution, basing it loosely on the constitution of the club I had left behind at Providence. I worked with my club advisor and set up a tutoring program to help students who needed personal help learn the curriculum. I spoke to my band director, and he worked to help establish a marching bandO of sorts, a pep band to play at football games. I joined the Interclub Council, as a club representative, and helped Ardrey KellOs own mini-UN organization change school policies. At the same time, other students were embracing the new school and working to create more clubs and extracurricular activities. A Key Club was founded, as well as an Interact Club and a Mu Alpha Theta. Almost everything I had left behind at my old high school was replaced with a new, improved version at this new school. Suddenly, my purple prisonO did not seem quite as jail-like. By making my voice heard, I was able to establish programs that improved and expanded the school. I was able to effect change, a power I had never before held.