I have been going to the Patel Conservatory for almost eight years. So when I started at Tampa Prep my freshman year, it was a natural fit. I love how acting allows you to visit another world. You get to learn other points of view because you put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
On campus, though, I don’t need to be in anyone else’s shoes. It’s really welcoming and supportive here. I never feel like I’m being judged. I would tell any students coming here from another school, don’t stress about finding your people when you get here. It can be intimidating knowing some of these people have been together for several years. But don’t be worried about trying to find your group. Everyone is welcoming, even the teachers! I really appreciate how much the teachers care for you, making themselves available before and after school to help you. They all want you to succeed.
For example, Mr. Sarkozy has helped me build my confidence in doing math because it’s something I struggle with. He’s really helped me get through this year–it’s a big change in the amount of work between eighth grade and freshman year. And every month in his class he has us pick a person in our lives we want to thank, and we write a letter to them–in math class–to mail out. I wrote one to my seventh grade Algebra teacher.
Lindsey is also interested in
Mr. Brian Sarkozy on Lindsey
I’m both Lindsey’s advisor and her math teacher. I could tell right away she was hardworking. She’s organized, and willing to put in the effort to succeed. She’s always coming in for extra help. I think she’s a leader by example–which is the best type of leader. She’s well rounded academically and is also the coxswain for the crew team. As the coxswain, she’s the one who controls the boat. She’s responsible for the power and rhythm of the rowers, what speed to row, what direction to be going in. So she’s balancing getting As in school, doing crew all year and she’s acting with Patel [Conservatory].
As for the thank you letters, I started that this year. I don’t see myself as teaching just to teach math, but also teaching kids to be good human beings. One of the things that can fall by the wayside is being grateful. Every month I have them write a letter to someone in their life who has positively affected them, tell them why, and thank them for it.
There was a little resistance in the beginning–not about writing it, but why we were doing it in math. I explained that it was a life lesson and that people love to get letters in the mail–especially if it’s a positive thing. One student afterward told me he wrote his grandmother and she called crying to tell him how much it meant. That’s what it’s about.