Thelma Moore-Steward's Learning Story


I grew up in a family where excellence was demanded by my father and expected by my mother. Following a mother and two sisters who were class valedictorians, I was always concerned about meeting the expectations of teachers who had had my older sisters or brothers. So when, in the 12th grade, my English teacher asked to meet with me and a few other classmates after school, I was nervous. But she challenged us to consider being placed in a special challenge class, a pull-out class, separated from the students we had been with for several years in our College Prep track classes. (This pre-dated Advanced Placement classes.) We all declined, but accepted the challenge for more rigorous work, comparable to freshman English.
I was so glad for that rigor, because when I enrolled as a freshman at UCLA, my English teacher told me that my writing was flawless. I needed to work on my persuasive writing, but I was well-prepared for a class that stymies many. I was grateful for that teacher’s high expectations, even for her high-achieving students. My sisters didn’t have that teacher, but somehow I felt that I may have out-performed them!