I am a teacher at Plano Senior High School. We are the high school that the El Paso shooter attended and graduated from in 2017.
As a teacher, I come in contact with many students on a daily basis that are struggling and feel alone. I want to share a story that really hit home to me this past year. There was a girl in my class who was really struggling. She was about to drop out of high school and complete it online at home. This news prompted me to talk to her and find out more of what was going on in her life. She didn’t like attending school at Plano Senior and did not have lunch with her friends. She had not connected with any new relationships and felt alone. As I have gotten to know more and more students at my school, I have learned that those feelings of loneliness and disconnection are shared by many students. My student decided to give it a chance after we spoke. She is now a thriving student at Plano Senior and is happy she chose to stay. I have helped her begin to make those connections that are so vital to a teenager and find commonalities with her classmates. I know that I would have benefited from someone reaching out to me in high school- whether it be another student or a teacher. Plano Senior may have 2,700 students and 7 different buildings, but it only takes one person to change the trajectory of a student
This incident with my student prompted me to come up with the idea of a “Breakfast Club” that would meet weekly on Friday mornings before school. I felt that students needed a place to feel safe, share honest struggles and feelings, and meet kids they would not normally meet in a school of 2,700 juniors and seniors.
Teenagers need someone to teach them how to connect face to face and have deep conversations. Teenagers need a place to share, be heard, and listen.
I feel deep in my soul that had we been doing this in previous years we maybe could have reached the El Paso shooter and who knows how many other kids who are lost and lonely.
Funded by Plano, TX (November 2019)