My SARSEF Experience

My SARSEF Experience

Samantha Valdez, Opinion Editor

Every since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working on my SARSEF project. I dedicated countless hours and energy into it because my research honestly became such a passion. When Mrs. Wexler told us about the project at the start of the year, I thought to myself okay yeah I can make a vinegar volcano. However, when she showed us projects kids had brought to SARSEF, I felt motivated to do something big too. Around this time I had started to volunteer at this place called TROT. It stands for Therapeutic Riding of Tucson and we provide horseback riding lessons to people with disabilities. Ever since witnessing my very first lesson there, I was amazed with how much all the kids improved in just one lesson.  With those memories fresh in my head,  I decided to look into Therapeutic Riding Therapy. First I started looking online and after that I was hooked.

I began background research papers, procedures, risk and safety, recruitment possibilities. I got approved by my school to start the project, right away I got parent consent and started as soon as possible. Every week brought a new surprise, and I loved working with the kids. It was coming time to put the poster board together and I stayed up almost every night making sure everything was perfect. Our projects got printed and were shipped to school. The moment I saw my project it was like falling in love.  It was a perfect little baby I had made. I can find no other words but proud to describe the way it made me feel.

Finally the big day came when we went to SARSEF. I was nervous for my interviews but also I was ready – this was my project I had worked so hard on and felt ready for anything that came my way. My first judge came, then my second, then my third. I had a total of 7 judges come interview me about my project. I felt confident my hard worked got noticed, and that the judges liked my work. Every single one of them was engaged in my work asking me questions, congratulating me on my hard work. SARSEF was a really fun experience and I don’t regret going. I was nervous from the moment I left the TCC until it was 10 am and the results were posted.

When 10 am came around, I was at our JTED grooming clinic and I ran to the bathroom. With my hands shaking I looked up SARSEF and saw the page of winners and was scrolling down to Sahuaro High School  Reaching toward the end of the list my heart began to sink. My project hadn’t won anything. Initially I was upset…like super upset, then I had tears rolling down my face. I had worked so hard and I felt that it went unnoticed. Thankfully I was able to have this mini breakdown in the bathroom but I was sad all that day and also really angry. I felt like burning my project, but anyways…the next day came and I was still upset and I still am to this day. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

I strongly believe my project deserved to win first place, I strongly believe my project was one of the best in the whole TCC hall. No one will ever make me change my mind on that, no one will ever know how much blood, sweat, and tears I put into it. Now when I look back I am upset I didn’t get recognized or win an award but I am really happy that I found something that helped me grow and help others. I wanted to let Mrs. Wexler’s future SARSEF kids or really any SARSEF kids know they should go for it, even if you don’t win or get recognized go out there and do your best to change the world. In the end no trophy or recognition will compare to the amount of knowledge you gained or the amazing things you did. I also want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped me get this project done. thank you Mrs. Wexler for pushing me out of my comfort zone and thank you to everyone at TROT for helping me make this dream possible.