Courtesy photo

Beatrice Zills said she really likes school. But the 13-year-old, seventh-grader said she feels the pressure to excel academically. As students were preparing for the STAAR test, the pressure mounted for this Copperas Cove junior high school student.

“Sometimes, I want to break down crying because of all the things I have to worry about with a lot of tests and practicing for the STAAR,” Beatrice said. “I feel like I have to do good or my teachers won’t think good of me ... that they’ll be disappointed in me.”

For Beatrice, it is a struggle to make above average and even passing grades. Beatrice suffers from dyslexia, which caused her to fail first grade. Now in junior high, she receives special tutoring during one of her elective periods.

“When I was in elementary school, it was very hard for me. I am not sure why. Nothing’s really changed now except that I went to another school,” Beatrice said. “In fourth and fifth grades, my grades started getting better and I was doing good. I guess I just don’t want to lose that now.”

Deanna Stoneroad, CCJH language arts teacher, described Beatrice as a conscientious and pleasant student.

“Beatrice brightens the room with her sunny disposition. She is self-motivated and always works hard to complete each assignment,” Stoneroad said.

Self-motivated she is. Beatrice said her parents do not push her to excel and she is the one who puts pressure on herself. She said she does things to distract from the pressure like watching a movie or going to the dog park with her Yorkie. She also plays soccer and basketball with parks and recreation and sings soprano in the school choir. She doesn’t like slow songs because they make her sad. She enjoys fast music. Her teachers describe her as a joy to be around.

“Beatrice always wants to help me or her fellow classmates. She is personable and always has a friendly smile,” said math teacher, Wesley Parker.

Despite her learning challenge, Beatrice is an honor roll student making A’s and B’s and doesn’t really have a favorite subject. She likes all of her subjects equally. Beatrice would like to be a first or second grade teacher. She said she does not want to teach older students because she would have to prepare them for the STAAR tests and that it’s too much pressure for her. For now though, she’s striving to maintain her honor roll status.

“I have to work for it. I can’t just not really try and still get a good grade,” Beatrice said.

Contact Wendy Sledd at wsledd@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476

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