Transitioning from middle school into high school can be overwhelming, exciting and scary. It can also be one of the most memorable periods of an adolescent's life.
To document this transition, we asked a class of eighth-graders from West Middle School to answer this question: "What do you hope you can say about yourself in four years?"
Some of the responses we received are below. We also sent a photojournalist to record these students reading (and expanding) on their original answers. You can hear those in a video at the end.
"I hope to say that I graduated from Tolton Catholic High School. I hope to say that I was the captain of the soccer team. I hope to say that I excelled in all my classes. That I was respected by everyone, that I received a scholarship to the school of my choice. I hope to say that I made it."
"I hope to be graduating high school. I’m looking into a possible welding career. I have no intent to go to college. I may attend a technical institute."
"I hope that I will be able to say how much I have improved both mentally and physically in my daily routines, and have more energy and drive to be better."
"What I hope to say about myself and my life four years from now is that I made it. As a young child I went through things no other child should go through and it made me stronger later in life. It built me up for more success so I can share my pain and my story to others who are going through the exact same thing. I want to say that I am strong not only for what I went through and not only for my skin color but for my aggression and motivation to keep on going no matter what in my studies and school. I hope I can look back and not regret anything and embrace my mistakes because that’s what makes us individuals and unique. If I can’t say this about myself and my life four years from now that would mean I had nothing to live for and my struggles were not made for me."
"In four years from now I hope I can say that I am happy."
"I hope I can say that I have matured a lot more and my parents can look at me as responsible and trust me and my decisions. In four years I hope I can say I have learned from all my mistakes and they have made me a better person and who I am now. I hope I can say I’m happier than I am now."
"I hope to be graduating from Hickman High School and on my way to Duke or University of Louisville with a full ride basketball scholarship and to work towards my education into becoming a orthopedic doctor. Duke would probably be my main choice but Louisville has a good medical program and good basketball team as well as Duke."
"I want to be able to say that I was accepted into a college, and that I resisted the influence of drugs through high school. Also, I want to be able to say that I had above a 3.7 GPA."
"I can say that I will be Youtube Famous."
"In four years from now I hope to be able to see a lot of change in myself. Hopefully I will have matured a lot more. I also want to be able to realize and fix my mistakes I made as a teenager, along with becoming a great young adult. As for my life, I would like to be heading toward graduation from high school with all A’s and applying for medical schools all around."