It has been four years since I attended the Developing Virtue Girls' School. It doesn't seem like much, but to me it's a lifetime worth of memories that have helped shape me intothe person I am today. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has become my second home and the Dharma Masters, teachers, laypeople, parents, and students in Instilling Goodness Developing Virtue Girls' School have become my second family, and leaving will probably by the hardest thing I will ever have to do.
This school is so different from any other school I have even been to, seen, or heard of, and I guess that's why I am so proud of it. This school has some of the most amazing people I have ever met, not to mention the most intellectual, ingenious, caring, and supportive teachers. It's funny how it has taken me nearly four years to realize how much each and every person and teacher has contributed to my well-being and my growth. I won't forget how every time I'm down in the dumps or just not feeling so great at least ten people will ask me what's wrong, not out of politeness, but out of real care and love for me and the genuineness of it all still touches me to this day. There is always someone just around the cornor when I need someone, be it a classmate or a teacher. And the Buddhism that has been rooted in me since I was little has advanced in knowledge ever since I came here, thanks to the number of wonderful, lively, and optimistic Dharma Masters that I have met over the years.
Developing Virtue Girls' School is the place where I have been able to do so many out of the ordinary things and surpass even my own assumed potential. For instance, who would have ever thought that three other classmates of mine and I would ever write a book at the age of 15, not to mention have it printed and distributed in twelfth grade? There was also the Chinese Culture Competition that even though I was forced into it, became one of the most memorable and exhilarating experiences in my years here in DVGS. It was here that I was awarded the Community Service Award from the Ukiah Rotary, learned how to plant a vegetable garden, wash a gazillion dishes, work in a restaurant, make many "scary" presentations, be a summer camp counselor, become a leader, and as a result became an overall better person.
One of the greatest experiences that I will take with me from this school is the dorm life. The dorm has helped me grow since the first day I stepped foot into it. I remember how my "big sister" took really good care of me. Not only were they always there for me, but they also taught me how to be an independant person. They were the people that taught me how to wash the big pots and pans, use the dish-washing machine, and make a quesadilla. They also instilled a great deal of lessons in me, such as respecting my elders, always helping others, be it my job or not, never going to sleep with your hair wet, and so on and so forth. By being good role models for me, I became the big sister I am today. And though I nearly died from "exhaustion", hopfully I have influenced my "little sisters" in the same way that my "big sisters" influenced me. The dorm is definitely not an easy experience, but each year has its highlights. I'm glad to have been a part of them.
This school has given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people that are always there to help me, and classmates that share the vision of doing our best to make this school a better place. Living in such an austere environment and with about 15-25 other girls has not only made me stronger but also it is here and in this school, that I have formed bonds that are stronger than I ever deemed possible. This school has helped me find purpose in life and it has really opened my eyes to what this world can become. I hope that I will be able to become a person that this school can be proud to have had.