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I have spent many nights up late doing homework or many mornings getting up really early to finish that paper for economics that I had not finished the night before. Study sessions chilling with friends, writing papers, and practicing presentations were not uncommon. I am unsure of whether or not my high school career has been that different than any other person's, but there seems to be a different atmosphere about me and my peers from the people who attend other schools. I know I have missed out on some opportunities to hang out with other people or get in more hours for my job because I was doing school work, and I know I have cried more than a few times over a stupid math problem that was so hard then but so easy now. I know these things, however, I still found many things in my education that go deeper than the all-nighters, tear stained math sheets, and a boring social life. Let me explain.
I go to a very small school. I do not attend school in a small town but I do go to a small school. The school I go to contains kindergarten through twelfth grade. In the high school portion there are maybe three hundred students but that is pushing it, and I really do not think we have that many. My grade has 18 people in it including me which means the numbers are obviously not coming from the juniors. Keep in mind that this section is under 'the good', so if you do not like small schools then maybe you would put this under 'the bad' category. Yes, my school is small, but because of it there is a community that is harbored within these walls that I honestly believe no other school could maintain in the same way. Not only is it small in the high school, but may of us have grown up together; we have gone from kindergarten to senior year being together. Each and every single one of us has seen the others struggle and succeed. We have laughed together and cried together, we have loved and hated, felt the same pains as one another and we have always come out on top with each other. This community was so amazing I had a hard time not putting this in 'the beautiful' category.
Not only are our grades a family, so is our faculty. I have never heard of a faculty so involved like the faculty that exists at Ridgeview. Every single teacher is highly invested in their students and truly care about their students' success. Like my peers, I have known these teachers for a long, long time and still frequently see them in the hallways or occasionally stop by to say a quick and friendly 'hello'. My fourth grade teacher promised that she would not leave the school at least until her first batch of students (which would be my fourth grade class) had written and delivered their senior thesis (the senior thesis is a ~20 page paper and a 40 minute presentation answering the question 'What is the good life') and has thus far been true on her promise.
There are many good things about my school but one of the best has to be the amazing community that has supported me throughout all of the years. There is more to come but I am intentionally leaving it for later.
Like I have already put forth, I love my school, but I cannot say that there are no bad parts, there are also many of those.
To start, my school has a classical education and we are a charter school. This means that we learn what our principle believes we should learn, not what the government or other school systems want us to learn (This is not the bad part keep in mind). Because of this, we do not get any funding. Our school building is a little outdated and it was not even made as a school so the hallways are very narrow (the building was originally a church and the hallways that were already narrow became even more so after lockers were added). We have a small gym with relatively low ceilings. Our PAC has some pews that are falling apart and our stage looks a little ghetto. We have laptops to use but you can only use one if you are using it for a science class (I am actually writing this article with one of these computers so RIP me 2019) and half the time they do not even work. Overall, we are underfunded and under-supported.
Another thing that is not great is the bias between teachers to certain students. The school has favorites and is not very discreet about it. Let me use an example. I am a normal person with an average GPA of about 3.2 running along the hallways and chilling with my friends wearing a dress that does not cover my shoulders and on this day I forgot to put on my jacket to hide my very seductive shoulders before going to class. This was literally one time. I walk into class and the very first thing my teacher says to me is "do you happen to have any sleeves today?" so needless to say I had to go get my jacket in order to not be in trouble. In contrast we will take my friend—let's call her Jen. Jen is sitting there above everyone with her 4.6 average GPA, her high honors student history, an AP student, a student of the quarter and a representative on student council. She has come into school with her shoulders out. The teacher who asked if I had sleeves, never once asked Jen if she had sleeves and neither did any of the other teachers. They not only judge the dress code based on bias, but they also grade that way and the bias that the teachers show has to be one of my least favorite, if not my least favorite, things about this school. If you enforce the rules or the grading rubrics, do it the same for everyone, no exceptions.
This school gave me something special; it gave me a love for learning and desire for deeper conversation. I now have a type of comprehension for the small details in literature and a different kind of appreciation for past events and moments in history that I did not before and that I do not think I would have had going anywhere else. My school taught me how to think. Unlike many schools, mine is not science based. In a STEM world many people no longer appreciate the humanities. However, we focus on them a lot because we would be very different people if we only focused on cold hard science rather than morals or enlightened thought. The affinity for thinking that this school has given me is basically the only part of my school that can be characterized as beautiful but that in and of itself is more than I could ask for anywhere else.
Overall, I have learned a lot through the school I go to and I have grown a considerable amount. I have been with the same people (for maybe too long) and seen them grow too. Like all places, there are cons that I have to face but throughout my total experience I would say that it is mostly positive. I wanted to leave on multiple occasions but I have not yet, and maybe I just will not at all. Anyways, there are a couple of things about my school that did not necessarily fit in with my title, but I hope you still enjoyed it.
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