I didn't have many friends in elementary school. I wasn't aware of it at the time. I was just a happy kid, happy to grow up with both of my loving parents and occasionally nice siblings. Like any kid, I had no concrete aspirations. One day I’d want to be a lawyer, the next it was a bus driver or a school teacher. I was the “good apple” in class. I almost never got in trouble and thought following the rules was the most important thing and that if I didn’t have an A or 5 gold stars, my life was over. But boy, did that change.
I remember how much I hated vegetables. My parents tried to win me over with that story about having super strength after eating vegetables for so long. I started slowly with broccoli and cheese. It was alright. But what really took the trophy was potato soup, which is still my favorite vegetable dish today (sometimes I cheat and add bacon bits and cheese). Nevertheless, I could eat it all day.
She wrote my recommendation to get into duPont Manual’s Journalism & Communications magnet. When I was accepted, I couldn’t help but think that it was all because of her. But I never got a chance to tell her how great Manual was. She died the next year. It’s almost as if she was kept here a little longer to help me succeed; to be the teacher and friend I needed, because without her, I probably wouldn’t have written this.
My life has changed so much since I’ve been at Manual. I came for creative writing, stayed for digital design, and continued forward with photography. Since my visit to New York my freshmen year, things have been different. I can’t say why because I do not know. All I know for sure is that the boy who went was not the same boy who came back.
So now, here I am; In a house of four, in that same house on Hill Street. I have more friends than I could have imagined back then. I'm confident and comfortable with who I am. I’m Robert Spencer, photographer and designer for New Roots and commission.