By: Diana Abraham
To finish my high school newspaper career, I decided to ask my friends a few questions about their experience and compare it to my thoughts about the good ol’ JCHS. The questions that I asked came from my older sister and her friends, and the ones they came up with reminded them of their own experiences in high school. The interviewees are Jenna Martinez and Kassie Sarkar.
The first question I asked them was: “What high school experience would you live again?” Jenna replied that she would relive sophomore year music tour but with her current self and current friends. In other words, she wants to go back to Disney with her best gals. She said that she had a lot of fun on the music tour that year, but she would want to experience Disney again. She doesn’t believe in fully reliving something because she, “want[s] to live in the now,” and “keep moving forward.” Kassie said that she would want to relive the Culture Club Festival (a.k.a C.C. Fest) and her time in the Forensics Club. The C.C. Fest was a fun event that was organized by the Culture Club board which includes Jenna Martinez, Kassie Sarkar, Elissa Bonilla, Ben Mulick, and myself. The board put a lot of work and effort into the festival and to see the golden fruit of our dedication and diligence be ripened at the well-attended and entertaining night of fun, felt rewarding for all general members and all board members. Sarkar also mentioned that she would want to go back to relive her time in Forensics. There she was able to create herself into the person she is today. She fell in love with public speaking and learned the tricks of the trade when it comes to speaking in front of large audiences and communicating the message well. In this club, she truly “became a new woman,” and it has surely influenced in her search for a career.
The second question that I asked the two friends was: “What is you favorite and least favorite daily thing about JCHS?” Jenna replied that her favorite thing was to see her friends everyday and be able to talk to her close friends almost constantly. Also, stopping by and saying hello to past teachers is something that Jenna likes to do. Kassie said that her favorite thing about JCHS on a daily level was the freedom that students had to create their own little world at JCHS. In other words, we are allowed to expand our horizons as long as we are willing and motivated to do so; in turn, the students are very comfortable with the administration and secretaries because they need their help to keep pushing the boundaries of the assumed teen idleness and senioritis. The least favorite thing that the two of them agreed on was the monotonous schedule of class after class and the rigid structure of the school system. There is no time for the students to really de-stress and no time to change up the schedule. Also, Kassie mentioned a good point about highlighting the cliqueness that is integrated into our school’s social makeup. It is almost unheard of for someone to be in all the cliques. She would prefer that everyone in our grade were friends and would acknowledge each other as such.
The third question that I asked was: “What teacher influenced you the most and why?” Jenna said that the teacher that influenced her the most was Señora Coogan-Russell because she radiates positivity and genuinely cares for all of her students. Señora truly exemplifies what a role-model should be: caring, compassionate, and selfless. She puts the student’s happiness before the deadline and makes her students feel special and motivated. Jenna said that one day she hopes to be able to make others feel the way Señora does. As for Kassie, she choose two teachers that changed her life forever. Ms. Ryan guided Kassie on her journey to becoming a more confident person. Kassie was able to develop outside of the school environment and Ms. Ryan reminded her that “you can do things that aren’t academically focused,” and still do well in school. All in all, Ms. Ryan taught Kassie to think outside of the school box and at the bigger picture of life. The other teacher that Kassie mentioned was Dr. Trause; he told Kassie that things are more than what they seem. She loved how he values effort more than the right answer and really fostered the value of hard work in Kassie.
For myself, the experience that I would relive again is music tour of Washington D.C. which was my junior year. I loved visiting a historic city and being with my best friends for a few days in a new place was amazing. On the D.C. trip, the students had a lot of freedom to wander and explore the museums so that experience was extremely fun and liberating from the daily bore of school. My favorite daily thing about JCHS is Mr. Licavoli sneezing and shaking the entire school with his loud nose. My least favorite thing is the bell schedule which makes me think that I am in a prison. Lastly, the teacher that has influenced me the most is Ms. Julia Hollman. Ms. Hollman is the reason why I say “Ms.” and not “Mrs.” or “Miss.”; she taught me that we are not defined by society, but we are the ones who define who we are. This lesson has remained in my mind and heart since junior year and will probably follow me for the rest of my life. She made me realize how integral each event in history is to our lives and how we must change the now to have a better future. Even though, I may not go into history, I will be an active citizen because of her teachings.
It’s been real JCHS, PEACE OUT!