by Angel Wright
The new school year is about to start, for me its my senior year and my fourth high school. I am currently preparing for Link Crew where I will be working with freshmen on their first day of school. My goal while working with these freshmen is to try and provide a safe and fun introduction into a new environment. New environments differ from wherever you go and from my own personal experience high schools can have major differences, even though it is set with the same outcome of graduating and gaining a post secondary education.
Freshman year at my first high school in Tuscon was unique in the sense that I had roots there. This was due to my brothers own educational journey. At that time he had his own truck and drove us. He had helped me figure out where my first class was but then he left me to rejoice with his friends. There was no Link crew and I stumbled through the school clueless until I ran into someone familiar who had the same class that I did. As the year went on I became used to the system of hearing a faint voice talk about our school news. I paid no attention because school spirit was only relevant one day a year when we played football against our rival school. The only clubs that were offered were during lunch, and I decided not to leave my friends to join a club that often times lasted only a month. There were options for clubs and sports but you had to search for them and at that point I just didn’t know about them. I wish I had as I might have wanted to stay when I left for my second high school.
At my second high school in Colorado the grades went from tenth to twelfth so I was subjected to being a freshman yet again. Mostly everyone had known each other because they went to the middle school just a few hundred feet away from the high school. This time around I had no older brother to guide me to class but I had to maneuver through a small school with hidden classrooms and filled hallways. I remember being surrounded by students who lacked diversity and who had lived a small town kind of life. This small town life seemed to be fun and have perks if you lived there all your life or if you had a sibling that once attended the school then someone was going to greet you with excitement. The first semester I did join a couple of clubs that were also held during lunch because one of my eager friend’s urged me to. I’m glad I had someone to help push me into doing things at school that really benefitted me. One thing that shocked me was that the teacher here cared about all of their students and even invited conversation on a regular basis about grades and tutoring. I did have good teachers at my first school but it wasn’t the same. They were there for the day not the student. Although I was more involved, I was unhappy. I am sure now had I stayed I might have gotten on board and befriended many of the students who would be in my small graduating class.
My father was the reason we moved to Colorado in the first place but after we moved he was given a delayed promotion in Denver which was four hours away. I would have to move mid second semester of sophomore year. So there I was landing back in Tucson planning to stay with my grandmother and attend my first high school once again. I had enrolled there and hated it within a week. The material was completely different in every class I took and the teachers only directed their attention for a moment saying I would catch up in no time. I wound up enrolling in an alternative high school just down the street from my house. My cousin had been going there and I thought I would give it a try. This was the kind of school where you sit at a computer for five hours a day and do your classes online with a teacher on site for that subject. I truly believe this is a good alternative for those motivated to get through their schooling faster, but I happened to be unmotivated and this led me to slack in areas I would normally try my hardest in. When it was time to be reunited with my parents I was ready to go somewhere new.
Now my fourth high school for my junior year was different; it was the biggest I had ever been to as the halls were jam packed and difficult to get through. On the first day you only go to your first two classes then to a school wide assembly. I made two friends within those first couple hours who I am very close with now and I was also introduced to the school's tradition of introducing the freshmen and celebrating the seniors. I have never seen school spirit so vibrant at nine o’clock in the morning and from there on everything started to click. When I had met my counselor a few days earlier I would have never expected to be so involved in the club she ran or be waking up at four in the morning so we could go help facilitate for a marathon. The teachers here had so much passion and even more dedication to their students and this truly made me feel welcome. One more semester at my fourth and favorite school will be the longest I have ever attended throughout my high school education. Graduating from this school is going to be my happy ever after for my high school education and I am grabbing every opportunity it offers.
The thing about new environments is that they can be uncomfortable or have an unforeseen great welcoming. Either way the best you’re gonna get from it is what you pull from it and it may sound cheesy but its true. It took me a long time to get used to the change of new high schools, but now that I have I appreciate everything that they were able to give me. Without change and meeting new people almost on a constant basis I probably wouldn't be as comfortable as I am now being myself. Being in a new environment only means having more options.
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