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“Popping the Bubble,” A Reflective Essay by Ellie Wolfe ’13

Ellie Wolfe is entering the 12th grade at the Williston Northampton School. She is the Editor of the school newspaper The Willistonian, is a staff member of the literary magazine Janus, and is also the co-founder and co-head of the Williston Women’s Action Alliance. In her free time, Ellie likes to hang out with her friends and take her dog Ringo for walks. Below, she shares reflections on her time in the SCCS “bubble,” a place that fostered growth and gave her the skills and confidence to succeed.

My English teacher always tells me that, when I read a novel, I get too involved in the world of the story and don’t pick up on the intricate patterns, symbols, and motifs that the author layers into their work. She’s right. When I’m reading a story or completing a task, I get so into the story or task that the rest of the world kind of floats away, and I create a little bubble around myself. During my three years at the Smith College Campus School, I was thoroughly enveloped in the magical little bubble that my teachers created for me. Whether it was Ms. Ramsey’s Math lessons or Mr. Matylas’ tadpoles, my time at the school was incredibly intimate. Just my classmates, my teacher, and myself, with little to no interruption from the outside world.

There were times, however, when the little bubble opened up. There would be a knock on the door, and we would all swivel our heads, and it would get so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. Normally, the knocker would be a secretary, or another teacher, or a parent, but sometimes– my favorite times– it would be an alum.

Most of the time, these alums would be in high school. It’s funny, because now I’m in high school, but back then they were so tall and cool, and I marveled at their shoes because they usually wore boots with heels. The visiting alums turned my bubble, which was fogged up, clear, because they helped me see the future, not just the present. I began imagining myself older, wiser, probably with boots that had heels, returning to my old stomping ground with my life completely put together because I would be a high schooler.

Now I’m in high school, and I go back to visit SCCS sometimes with my friend James, and I really don’t have everything figured out as much as I thought I would. I return and see the tiny water fountains, and the gym where we used to sit before class started, and the fridges filled with cartons of milk. I see the little version of myself, completely and totally wrapped up in the little world that is SCCS. The world of SCCS was challenging and complicated but completely wonderful because it taught me so many things that I still use today. I still see poetry the way my fourth-grade teacher Ms. Ramsey taught me. I still remember the books that my fifth-grade teacher Mr. Matalyas recommended to me. I still add fractions the way that my sixth-grade teacher Ms. Colon taught me. I think that is what is so lovely about the Campus school. It creates a little bubble for you to learn and grow in, but it gives you the knowledge and confidence to pop it.


Written by Ellie Wolfe ’13, edited by Brittany Collins

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