by Quaye Dydasco, Features
Unless you were living under a rock, there’s no way you didn’t hear about the Beaverton School District boundary change all thanks to Mountain View… Oh wait, that’s a middle school, no wonder I mistake it for Mountainside. After the announcement of the district addition, boundary maps came flying out trying to find a population balance. Being in eighth grade at the time, I never really paid it much mind. It was one of those things that you expect to just be figured out on its own. For example, Russia infiltrating our election; not my problem, but it’s somebody’s.
The boundary change wasn’t supposed to be set in stone until the 2017-2018 school year. That meant that for one year, I could go the high school that I originally planned on. I was one of hundreds of freshman students that were forced to move schools courtesy of the boundary change. You probably wouldn’t recognize most of us, we blend in pretty well yet having to navigate through high school again as the new kid is rough as a freshman, but even worse when you have to do it as a sophomore.
Last year, I attended Sunset high school, quite possibly the most overpopulated school for its size. Despite the atrocious walls (bricks and yellow just don’t go!) and crowded corridors, my time there was well spent. I had experiences at Sunset that I will never forget and probably never do again. For instance, cram for an exam a week before the test! Or ask my teacher for extra credit work when I already have an A in the class. Aside from those experiences, as a freshman, I had plenty more embarrassing moments. Some included locking myself in the bathroom and going to the wrong science class for a week (in my defense, it was the same course just the wrong room.)
My freshman year at Sunset was all based around school work, one thing that Sunset offers that I miss was the academic competitiveness that lingered in the air. Seriously, it was like an airborne disease. Sure, it’s not the healthiest of things, but competition ran through our blood, it wasn’t just about getting an A, no! Not good enough! You had to have a 4.0 in the class because otherwise, is it really an A? Not to mention, I also set seven school records in my weights class which was super fun, out lifting all the boys never gets old.
Now it’s sophomore year and I’m at Beaverton, turns out the boundary change is an actual thing, but even worse, it was impacting me! I’m not going to lie, I felt defeated when every one of my three letters to stay at Sunset got rejected. Not only had I lost the battle, but it was continually rubbed in my face. Subsequently, I had to leave all my Asian friends whose parents worked at Intel but worst of all, I was forced to leave my best friend behind. It sounds rather dismal yet it wasn’t until I walked through the double doors of Beaverton did I realize that my worst nightmare had become reality. This is freshman year all over again.
The agony of navigating my classes, trying not to get trampled in the halls, and socializing with new people! This was a new category of suffering that I was unprepared and unsupplied for. My first day of school was chaos; freshmen have the day before all the other students where they get to know the school and find their classes. Well, I didn’t get that luxury, as a sophomore, people expected you to know where places were. Throughout the day, I had to ask teachers and peers how to get to classrooms such as 245 and 102, and then to make matters worse, they always responded with, “well, the two stands for the second floor” or “by the main gym,” expecting that I know where either of those are!
As my year at Beaverton ran its course, I made significant progress. Suddenly, I had more than one friend and I had a place to eat lunch – which as a high school student trying to establish a social status, is crucial. On the contrary, trying to establish a social status made it difficult to focus on my curriculum. At Beaverton, the academic atmosphere is much different, the students are driven by community and support rather than success so fitting in was offbeat to me. Instead of conversations about grades and trying to one-up each other on who studied more, the discussions that ensued were about football games and how we were involved in the school. Now, it’s not that Sunset didn’t bother with those things, but sports and school activities were never presented as passions but more so, an addition to your college application to make you stand out.
Attending Beaverton lead me back down some old pathways that I never thought I’d revisit. In middle school, I was actively involved in theater and I loved my drama class. Coincidentally, my middle school drama teacher, Mr. Dery, now instructs the drama department at Beaverton. The drama department is how I met most of my friends this year, my first friend at Beaverton dragged me into it when I had nowhere else to sit at lunch. From then on, I never had the urge to be anywhere else.
Another avenue that I left behind me in middle school was writing, I had a wonderful teacher that inspired me to explore the depths of literature and myself to produce great pieces of work. At Beaverton, I was able to be inspired again, my literature and composition teacher brought a storytelling element to writing that intrigued me. Then halfway through the year, I convinced my counselor to try and get me into the newspaper class because I wanted more writing opportunities. Thankfully, I succeeded in getting onto the newspaper staff, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.
Often times as I talk with friends now, I recall the beginning of high school as when I began attending Beaverton. Of course, I recognize that Sunset holds my freshman year in its pristine, overachieving, IB diplomaed hands. However, if high school is supposed to be your “glory days” as quoted from alumni who peaked too early, I know Beaverton is where the rest of my years belong. Once high school is over, the perfect grade point average and IB diploma won’t matter if I’m graduating in a class of conventional robots. When my glory days are over, I want to know that the bonds that I made and what I learned in school mean something to me because then I know it was worth it.
The high school experience in a nutshell. (Photo Courtesy of Tumblr)