Mr. Simon’s Impact on My Life
I first met Mr. Simon through an entrepreneurial camp in the summer of 2016. I was going into my sophomore year of high school. Originally, I just participated in this camp so my friend Isabella wouldn’t have to be alone. As it turns out, we were the only girls in the entire group.
During this camp we had the opportunity to meet real entrepreneurs, including Mr. Simon, and get a better understanding of what it meant to be an entrepreneur. This was my first realization that you have the power to control your life. This camp ignited a spark in me to become something of value to this world. I was treated with respect from everyone and it was rejuvenating. There was no shield from the real world, it was natural learning. I would confidently say this was the first time I was treated like an adult, an actual adult. We discussed our future plans and the steps to get there and even though I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I had a feeling of peace knowing that I was able to control it. The spark that was ignited that week hasn’t gone out and never will.
The following year I took my first class with Mr. Simon. I took sports and entertainment marketing. I was one of two girls in a class of thirty kids, not to mention the majority of the boys were upperclassmen. As a shy sophomore this was nothing less than terrifying. I had a drive for business so I didn’t drop the class. Throughout the class there were multiple times when we had to present an original idea. These project presentations not only got me out of my fear of speaking in front of people but it also tested my knowledge. While presenting Mr. Simon would ask you questions pertaining to your assignment. The twist was that you are standing up in front of everyone and on the spot. There were times that my hands were dripping in sweat and my face was beet red but Mr. Simon persisted and soon I no longer dreaded presenting. I actually wanted to present first. His feedback wasn’t always positive, but there was never a time that I felt like I had produced a bad idea.
Another aspect of this class that helped me grow as a person was the amount of respect I received. Being in a room full of high school boys isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I would say I cried at least 30 times in the beginning of the year but by the end of the year I had developed an attitude that was quick and witty, which is essential in situations like the ones I was faced with. I owe this aspect of myself to Mr. Simon and his advice. As many other students would say, Mr. Simon doesn’t just care about your intelligence. He does his best to always have time to listen to what’s going on in your life and give you the best advice he has to offer. The amount of kids at Union Pines that considered his classroom a “safe-haven” is unbelievable. Never once did I see him ask a kid to leave, even if they didn’t have a class with him. He was accepting of everyone. I don’t know how he kept his sanity with the crazy stories kids would tell him, yet he was always ready to listen and offer help. Mr. Simon became one of my biggest role models that year, and he remains one.
About a year ago, I had failed a math test. I was distraught and was so disappointed in myself. Being the emotional person I am, I started crying. I went to Mr. Simon’s classroom so that no one would see me as the emotional wreck I am. At this time, Mr. Simon had his planning period, which certainly didn’t mean he was alone and working. He kept his classroom doors open all day and during all lunch periods students would come in and if they had no food Simon would offer them the snacks that he kept in his closet. That day, I walked in, mascara all over my face, and in hand was my math quiz, marked with my failing grade. Mr. Simon asked what was wrong, and with the help of the students already in the classroom, calmed me down. Instead of telling me to go back to class and reassuring me that everything would be okay, he got out his old math notes and worked through the entire quiz with me. This is a prime example of what students are referring to when they say that Mr. Simon actually cares about the kids that attended Union Pines. This story has a bittersweet ending though. This was also the day that Mr. Simon told me that he was leaving Union Pines. I am sure you can infer how much panic this caused me, not to mention the hundreds of students who also saw him as a role model.
Mr. Simon not only helped my friend Isabella and I get through the year but he inspired us to start our own business. He coaxed us through the entire process and we went on to win the Idea Challenger and make over 700 dollars that year. This provided such a sense of independence. I knew I could only grow from that moment. Mr. Simon went on to become my first boss and now I am working on his campaign for NC house. He had faith in me and treated me as an equal. He respected and continues to respect my ideas. I would not be where I am today without him and I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today without him. If he gets elected for NC House of Representatives, I have no doubt he will be anything less than exemplary.