Meet Caroline Dunn

“I’m so thankful that someone saw past my surface.” – Caroline Dunn ’17


In order to get up, we must first fall down. There I was, a young girl placed in an advanced math class being told by the influences in my life to cut the math weirdness out. I loved math; really, this not a joke. I still love math. But, in eighth grade, I cared about people’s opinions more. The world and the people that abide in it thoroughly convinced me that my face, my relationships, and my popularity were my most valuable assets. And believe me when I tell you I fell for the lies, and fell hard. I didn’t try to comprehend a thing out of my teacher’s mouth. I didn’t do my work. I didn’t show up to extra help sessions because I wanted to spend my time in the hallway being the pretty, funny, and failing girl that everyone liked.

In my completely graceless fall, my teacher and my parents enveloped me with indescribable grace. The whole time they reiterated to me that the world was lying. They assured me that my mind, my ideas, and my heart were my most valuable assets. Their assurance was nice, but I heard it too late, so I was facing a final on which I would need an almost perfect grade.

I’m just going to fast forward through the tears, the stress, and the anxiety leading up to this exam and let you know that I did not make the grade. Despite my best effort to crawl out of this hole myself, I failed. My teacher, Mrs. Smothers, told me that I had failed, but she followed this news with the rarest of mercy. She refused to give up on me, but allowed me to retake the test. She sat there with me and watched me rework each problem to get that grade because she knew I could. She knew that I was capable of being so much more than my physical self, and she refused to lose me to the world. I eventually did it after the oddest combination of frustration and determination. I did it, and in this feat that may seem so small, I found my self’s success again. Thanks to act after act of matchless grace and mercy, I defeated the world. I have so much more to offer than my looks, and I have such bigger goals than being popular. I want to solve the unsolvable. I want challenges, and I want struggles. I want to embrace the beauty that hides itself in becoming. I want a deep life, and I am so thankful that someone saw past my surface.

Caroline will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in the fall. 


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