Elle McRae

Dear McCallum,

When I first took a look at my keyboard, I didn’t know which key to press. I didn’t know if there was some type of life-giving phrase that would encompass my time here at McCallum. To be ever-so-honest, I was struck by fear when asked to write this.

As I sat there at my keyboard, I was faced with the realization that many of my actions are driven by the sole power of being afraid. Mitch Albom wrote a book titled Tuesdays with Morrie about his sociology professor, Morrie, who, while facing a fatal disease, managed to meet with Mitch every Tuesday to discuss the meaning of a happy life. I learned something through Morrie. He said: “If you let the fear inside, if you pull it on like a familiar shirt, then you can say to yourself, ‘Alright, it’s just fear. I don’t have to let it control me.’”

Freshman year at McCallum, I formed the idea that everyone was out to get me. I had let fear overtake me. After transitioning and maturing in the slightest in sophomore year, COVID hit. Come junior year, the immensity of a teacher’s devotion to their student was demonstrated more than ever. Sitting behind a black box, watching my teachers’ withered-down enthusiasm as they tried to motivate my fellow classmates, I was taught a lesson I would never forget. I understood that even through a pandemic, these adults love you, and there is nothing they want to do more than to nurture your education.

As Morrie would say, “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” Senior year, I let the love come in. This love took the form of AP Calculus. Not to demean myself, but I could not grasp the material nearly as well as everyone else in my class. Ms. Seckar would listen to my degrading comments on and on, until one day she stopped me and said, “Elle, you took a hard class, and you stuck with it. I am proud of you.” I’ve come to understand that everyone is willing to listen to you — all it takes is turning away from fear and leaning on passion.

McCallum has allowed me to overcome insecurities and stand confidently as who I am. Take the AP class, smile at your teachers, join community, and most importantly, grow to understand what makes you happy.


Elle McRae

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