Stepping into Broad Ripple Magnet School for the first time was like a breath of fresh air, sprinkled with sentiments of nostalgia and hope.  What first appeared to be a long, intimidating school hallway turned out to be an art showcase that accompanied me all the way to the main office.  Just as I exited the hallway and turned to take the stairs, portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr. stopped me in my tracks. In one student’s work, the words “I have a dream” were boldly emblazoned atop King’s head.

As you’d expect from young adults, all of the students at Broad Ripple have their own dreams.  One fiercely wants to start a makeup brand that will outsell MAC cosmetics, while another wants to pursue a career in classical music after graduation.  Whatever the case, their aspirations give me hope— despite how grueling teenagedom and the public education system have been to them, they embrace big plans for the future, imminent obstacles and all.

They aren’t afraid, however, to grill their friends whenever they seem too idealistic— I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a sassy “How do you think you’re going to do that?” followed by reserved I Don’t Knows or ambitiously detailed Here’s The Plans.  After all explanations (or lack of) are doled out, the atmosphere remains supportive; what these students have realized, during such a crucial point in their lives, no less, is that they need to stand together in order for everyone to reach their dreams.

Mentoring at this school has given me the opportunity to remember how crucial it was to feel supported in my early, identity forming days, while also heavily reminding me that I still depend on that support today.  From what I’ve seen so far, the community at Broad Ripple Magnet School successfully fosters the individual, and I look forward to the fine adults these students will become.

Elizabeth Terrell is a senior English major.