For BYU Homecoming each year, descendants of George H. Brimhall sponsor an essay contest honoring a BYU founder. The 2021 honored founder was longtime BYU Program Bureau director Janie Thompson. Below is an excerpt from the winning essay, by design major Shannon G. Spencer (’23).
I fingered the sheet that lay facedown atop my third-grade desk. My hands were shaking.
Papers flipped, and the room filled with the scratching of yellow pencils; we had one minute to fill a page of multiplication tables. I stared at my first problem: 8 times 4. It took me six precious seconds to remember the answer.
I barely managed to get halfway through the page before hearing the dreaded “Pencils down!”
As we passed our papers to the front, I couldn’t help but notice my classmates’ worksheets—all completely filled. I dropped my pencil and sunk back in my chair, defeated. Once again, I had proven to my teacher and to the world that I couldn’t do math. I wanted to cry.
To read the full essay, visit magazine.byu.edu.