High school also gave Charity the opportunity to assist fellow classmates for the first time. “It’s nice to help people understand concepts and do better in the class.”
Beyond the classroom, Charity enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the St. Petersburg community through the Upper School's annual Service Week, one of her favorite Shorecrest traditions. Her Freshman year she enjoyed volunteering with Mrs. Schneider’s Veterans Voices group. “We went to the Veteran’s Hospital and gave out blankets and toiletries. We got to meet a lot of veterans too, so that was interesting. Sophomore year I went to Great Explorations [Children's Museum] with Sra. Andrés. That was very different. I got to play with kids and teach them to do crafts. It was just fun."
Another tradition Charity enjoyed was attending the spring musicals her classmates dedicated so much time to producing, even though she, herself, was not a thespian. “I enjoyed going to the plays. I want to support the arts, and I enjoy theatre, especially when they did “Phantom,” because that’s my favorite Broadway musical. I love seeing that different side of my classmates. I'm always so impressed by how well they can sing and act; just seeing them in the classroom, I would never know how much talent they have.”
Charity doesn’t take her opportunity to be a part of a school setting for granted. “When I tell people I like school, they look at me like I’m crazy, but I actually enjoy going to classes. I love learning. For me it’s not about the grade. I was never trying to go for Valedictorian, I was just trying to do my best and learn the most that I could and if the grade happened to be good that would just follow.”
Charity emphasized this idea in her Valedictory address at the Class of 2018 Commencement ceremony. “It’s not so much about the grade on your report card but the depth of learning, and that education transcends the walls and ceilings of the classroom…”
This is a lesson she learned a couple years back from her junior year English teacher, Mal Ellenburg. “He spent a whole day talking about how grades don’t matter and what matters is how much you learn and how it develops your character. Everyone else in the class started saying, ‘Grades matter. They matter for college,’ but for me, it made a lot of sense to me.”