For a couple of weeks, I’ve been bombarded with memories of the past. It all started during the nights with random embarrassing, upsetting moments – especially when I’d be on my way to snooze land. I initially felt my head aching more times than usual, and I would always feel emotionally and physically drained the next day.
I wanted the displeasing memories to decrease, which helped to counteract them with happier, more blissful experiences. Most of the happier ones happen during the day, and there are still some daunting memories that keep me up at night, but they don’t keep me as lethargic the next day as they once did.
With a new school year approaching, I thought it would be nice to highlight one of my most missed experiences: being a complete newbie student. I would’ve touched on the topic of my exact first days of school, but we all know how poor my memory is. At least by focusing on a broader range of scholastic memories, I’m able to remember more of and share the ones that still lovingly pull at my heartstrings.
So, in this post, I’ll touch on my experiences at the very first school I’ve ever attended.
Joshua Generation International Academy (JGIA)
— The name of the very first school that I attended. It is a single structure built on a plot of land that fits one average-sized house and is surrounded by a metal fence. Other houses neighbor its immediate sides and back, while a two-way road sits at the front. The front of the school features a wide-open hallway that leads to the small graveled parking lot just before the road. Facing the road, to the left side of the hallway is a playground for the students to relax during recess.
JGIA is a private Christian elementary school that includes grades from K4 (Kindergarten-Age) – 6th grade in Saipan, CNMI. I am not sure if it is still in operation, but if they are, it had probably changed locations, as its previous one seemed abandoned when I last visited the island years ago. If the physical location has been abandoned, I will do my best to capture a photo of it and include it here in the future.
My parents enrolled me in JGIA’s K5 at 4 years old and I was there only until first grade. The school, though small and my time spent there was short, was a lovely one where I met a lot of my very first close friends, one of whom I am still in close contact with to this day. I remember enjoying the curriculum, with Bible study and Math being my most memorable subjects. I also loved wearing their uniform, which included white collared button-up short-sleeved tops, checkered green and white necktie, dark green vest, checkered green and white skirt, white socks, and black Mary Jane school shoes. This was probably the only time I’ve ever worn a skirt to school.
One of my fondest memories was being able to celebrate my birthday with the school as it landed on a school day. This eventually became a tradition for me up until the fifth/sixth grade to celebrate my birthday at school, if it landed on a school day. All of the other grades came out to celebrate with the kindergartners. I’m thankful that my parents were able to capture this memory with photographs as I was able to look back at them and remember all of the happy faces of my friends, classmates, and instructors.
I will also cherish all of the school performances and activities that were conducted throughout the year. We learned and performed a couple of dances, as well as re-enacted some childhood plays. They were fun and I don’t think I’ve ever felt shy performing them.
Another fond experience also happens to be one of my earliest memories. It was basically me snuggling up to one of my guy classmates during nap time. Yeah. I don’t know what else to say about this. He wasn’t my crush (I didn’t even know about crushes), but we were close friends (at least I saw him as one).
During my K5 promotional ceremony, I was ecstatic to play a mermaid from The Little Mermaid. I wore a two-piece dress that had beautifully decorated sparkly sequins, which my 5-year-old self found majestic. I remember that we also had to prepare a line for the promotional ceremony where we said what we wanted to be when we grew up and why. During practice, I actually didn’t know what I wanted to be (I didn’t know that being happy would’ve been the best answer for me). It was at the last minute, I thought of being a teacher. But then a classmate said out loud that they wanted to be a teacher, so I had to go back to the drawing board. Firefighter, singer, carpenter, astronaut – all other admirable career paths were being taken left and right. There was only one other career available, and at my promotional ceremony, as my nervous self went up to the microphone, I confidently stated that I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up so that “I could help all the sick people.” Yes, I remember this verbatim because my parents never actually let me live this down. At first, I found it embarrassing, but as the years went by, I found it heartwarming.
This is because, at a young age, I’ve still always had it in me to help the world someway, somehow. And although I won’t be doing that in a hospital, I’ve learned that I can still help others even in the most unexpected or simple way just as others who aren’t in the medical field are able to help others in a variety of ways.
Lastly, I remember feeling happy and excited being a student throughout my two years at JGIA. I never paid attention to how many minutes of class were left or got stressed about schoolwork. Sure, it was elementary school, but the work we received was advanced for our age, yet I was thankfully able to understand their concepts. I had an amazing principal, lovely instructors who made learning fun, and friendly classmates. The academic curriculum was nothing short of impactful and the extracurricular activities were enjoyable.
I’ve always wondered what would happen if I had stayed there until 6th grade but growing up, I know things happen for a reason and I’m grateful to have even experienced attending Joshua Generation International Academy.