I always knew I was different…special, maybe a little odd…unique. But growing up, I never knew why or how. I didn’t understand it. How could someone so quiet and unassuming have so much influence on others?

I tried being extroverted in my early twenties. I apologized for my quiet nature and tried to cover that up. It backfired on me—big time. However, it taught me an important life lesson that I still hold with me: always be yourself. No matter what. Be genuine. I came to the realization that because I was made differently, I could change the world, quietly.

Currently, I am a second grade teacher in a Title I, inner‐city school in Phoenix, Arizona. I mentor student teachers in their senior year of college. I am also getting my master’s degree in education. I now no longer apologize for who I am. In fact, I wholeheartedly embrace who I have been created to be.