If you’re lucky, you can name at least one person who has deeply and profoundly impacted your life. For University School of the Lowcountry alumnae Kat Favre, that person is Ms. Sara Peck, our writing, grammar, and speech teacher, as well as advisor to our Novel Club.
Kat, a Mount Pleasant resident, came to USL in 2013 for seventh grade and felt “like a fish in outer space” on her first day—everyone was so polite and already seemed to know each other. She also noticed something different about the teachers—they treated the students like people who were committed to learning and growing.
She says, “Not only did Ms. Peck get me out of my shell in the beginning of seventh grade, starting at a new school—impressive on its own—but she helped me flourish in a new environment.”
Kat describes herself as being vaguely interested in writing at the beginning of 2013, but only because she loved reading. “During seventh and eighth grade, my cautious interest spiraled into full-out love for the art,” she says.
Kat not only learned about the art of writing during class with Ms. Peck, but she also joined the school’s Novel Club, where she was further inspired and supported in her composing. Before leaving USL, Kat entered writing competitions, won awards, wrote a novel, and made life-long friends because of our community of writers. She’s even had some poems and short stories published in anthologies and published her work online, where it has been read by more than 20,000 people.
“None of that would be possible if it had not been for Ms. Peck,” Kat says. “She is an inspiration, a mentor, and a saint for putting up with all of our craziness.”
While Ms. Peck had the biggest impact on Kat’s two years at USL, she says there are other things that stand out as being unique too—getting out of the classroom and into the community, learning three languages, the encouragement of deeper thinking and making connections, the camaraderie between teachers and students, and much more.
“What I think is really special about USL is that they are there for you—not just in your studies or academic life, but in everything. There’s always someone to give you a hug on a rough day, to geek over that new episode of the TV show, to provide backup during a classroom debate. USL is more than a school—it’s a community,” she says.
When asked via email about the most important lesson that she learned at USL, Kat’s response shows just how much her gift for writing has blossomed. Surprisingly, however, it’s not an academic lesson that tops her list. It turns out it’s a sense of worth and confidence in her own abilities that means the most—feelings that were nurtured by Ms. Peck and other faculty members who care deeply about helping students thrive inside and outside the classroom.
Kat says, “I learned a whole lot at USL, from the way the world works to how to solve a system of equations to how to ask for ice cream in Spanish. I learned how to study and how to interact with other. I learned how to write emails and thank-you cards. But the most important thing I learned was that I could make a change. For a long time, growing up, I would imagine making a difference, speaking out, standing up. I imagined doing something for someone, making the world a tiny bit better—but it was always a ‘someday’ thing. Someday, when I have the chance, I’ll change things. Someday, when I can, I’ll help. Until I came to USL, I didn’t know that someday could be today. I learned a whole lot at USL, but the most important thing was how to look for opportunities and what to do if I wanted to make a change, in my life or in someone else’s.”