I Found a Family at Mount Ellis Academy

Think back to grade school. Do you remember that kid who was always picked last for teams in gym class or group projects at school? How about the kid who was a little off the wall and had a bit of extra baby fat? You know who I am talking about.

Well, in my case, this person was…me. I just never quite fit in, and it didn’t help that I went to a funny church that held services on Saturday. In junior high school all I wanted was acceptance, and at my public school that meant total conformity. If a person didn’t dress and act in certain ways, they would be ousted from their clique. And without a clique, this person would be nothing socially. I could just never quite keep on top of those fashions or latest music groups.

So then I arrived at Mount Ellis Academy (MEA) my freshman year with thoughts of anxiety, apprehension and curiosity. I remember walking up the administration building steps that first registration day with my parents. Out of the blue, there appeared a really old-looking kid before me.

“Hey! You’re Rebecka Sikora, right?” this guy said, all smiles.

“Y-yes,” I replied hesitantly. I wondered how he knew my name.

“It’s your birthday, right?”


“Well then, happy birthday!” he exclaimed and gave me a huge hug. Later I found out that he was a senior named Michael.

But that was only the beginning. As I started going to classes and getting to know my fellow students, I realized they liked me for me. It didn’t really matter what my past was like or if I had those perfect jeans (or genes). The kids are fun and accepting, and the staff takes a genuine interest in us. The staff willingly gives of their spare time to help one of us or to just talk. This was the thing that was and still is so remarkable to me. Since MEA is so small, it really does feel like a family, a home away from home.

And you know what? I’m still different. Each and every person is special and unique, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

July 01, 2003 / Montana Conference