Home is the first word that comes to mind when I think about my time spent at the charter school. I’ve felt at home there every day since my first time walking through that main street hallway in September of 2006.

Even though I’d spent time at other alternative schools on Cape Cod, this felt different. Here, I truly felt a sense of equality and honesty between the children and the teachers. It wasn’t just the fact that we addressed our teachers by their first names, but also the way we were encouraged to speak our minds, and how the teachers always made such an effort to understand our point of view, even when they didn’t necessarily have to.

Even when I made a mistake or broke the rules, which happened a lot, the adults in power never shamed me or held a grudge against me, but instead guided me to a place where I could grow from those mistakes.

This school taught me critical thinking, how to question authority, and what it means to be an individual in a world where you’re constantly being told to conform. We were always enthusiastically encouraged to follow our passions and aspirations from day one, and were even given the priceless opportunity to do so through our mentorship program.

Being a little kid and seeing the older students doing creative, hands-on projects about their passions is what kept me excited and motivated and excited to go to this school, and to finally be able to do it myself through fashion and digital media was so rewarding.

I don’t even want to think about how my life would look if I hadn’t attended the MVPCS, because I know for certain that staying here was the right choice, and right now everything is where I want it to be.

Thank you to every single one of my teachers and classmates. You made this experience memorable, bearable and meaningful, and I hope that I’ve done the same for you all. My time and involvement in this school aren’t completely over, and I’m planning on giving back in some way and making it part of my life in the future.

Aiden Donovan graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School on June 2. He will attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York city.