I finally finished my term paper. They said I needed it to graduate. They were wrong.

I had an ‘A’ in my English class for the first semester. I took the ‘F’ for the second and grabbed my diploma with a ‘C’. (Please DO NOT try this at home).

At 17 I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t commit. I couldn’t concentrate long enough to find a reason to put more into paperwork than creative work.

So yeah, just now, I finally graduated.

All in good time I suppose.

I climbed a mountain of addendums/business proposals/narrative statements/job descriptions/bylaws/organizational docs/discrimination policies/docketing statements/budgets/future budgets/fictitious names/singing check after check for fees to declare the fact that we were NON-PROFIT…

I want this arts center more than I can possibly put into words. I want the elation I feel walking through the front doors to permeate an entire community. (Oh hell, the world if it will have us.)

I want to see kids light up the way I always did when I walked out of algebra and into arts class.

I was never convinced I would apply the math. I was skeptical that research would ever apply. I never expected to use the logic, the language and the learning that seemed so pointless so many years ago…

I never expected to admit that I was wrong – but also so right.

I was wrong to assume that most (alright – I assumed almost all) of what we learned in school was pointless.

I was also right to assume my love of the arts would one day have an important place.

I should also admit, that for too many years, I lost sight of that completely.

We need both – some times one more than the other, but we do need both.

Here’s to the kids who struggle to find the importance of both while remaining the ultimate dreamers.

And may we all ‘grow up’ continually creating and be lucky enough to find that perfect place to dream.

Author Julie Ufema

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