College Essay: Addison Bell to attend Cornell University


Hailey Spaeth

This year, as they are every year, the senior class was given the task of writing an essay for their common application; many colleges use Common App to determine whether the prospective student gets in. This essay can be a deciding factor on admission to a certain university, so naturally many students spend a lot of time on it. With a generalized prompt, the essay can be a bit of a roadblock in the application process. Here is one of nine essays from Country Day Seniors that The Scroll and the college counseling felt knocked their essay out of the park.

Addison Bell:

“And it has a tail, like this.” I made my arm into a squiggly, hopefully flagellum-like tail. I was describing sperm to my 12-year-old camper, Lexus.

This seems like a serious overstep of my camp counselor duties. But sadly, Lexus missed out on sex education. Not only did she miss this in her bouts of disciplinary action, but she also had gaps in her math, writing, and reading. Add in a ridiculously high number of incarcerated family members, low income, a single-parent household, and Lexus is a walking statistic. I’ve always been intrigued by statistics, but it wasn’t until I started working at this summer camp that I learned what those numbers meant.  Only 36% of eighth graders nationwide are at or above reading level. That’s just a number—but it’s not! That’s only 360 kids out of 1000! I love statistics like that because they inspire me. I want to make that statistic higher. 36% is not just a number—statistics represent actual people, like my campers.

As troublesome as she can be, Lexus has a lot of potential. Although I frequently had to tell her to stop wasting the glue or to sit back down in her chair, she loved learning new things. Full disclosure: I have terrible print. So, I often times write in cursive instead. One day Lexus noted my flowery script, and excitedly asked me to write down the letters of the alphabet so that she could trace over my handwriting and learn for herself. I was happy to do it. I try to teach my campers new things, or to teach them something above grade level, so that they get ahead in school. I also don’t accept negative self-talk. My kids often don’t have very strong support systems, and they begin to see themselves as a lost cause. I make it a point to tell them how important they are and how smart they are. These compliments are actually pretty good leverage. When Lexus would take a broken broom out of the storage closet “just because,” all I would have to do is say that she was doing so well before, and that I was proud of her. She would immediately put the broom back and return to her work.

As laborious as my job may be, I find it extremely gratifying. While I have no idea what grades Lexus will get in the following school year, or whether she’ll be expelled and have to change schools again, I do know that at least she’ll know how the reproductive system works.