High School was a great time. I had great friends and always had a lot of fun, but it was the amazing education I received that made it so great. I went to a High School where connections were appreciated and arguments were highly encouraged. While my friends at other schools were learning grammar and memorizing vocabulary words, I was contemplating Freud and ethnocentrism. I found that learning about new ways of thinking and challenging them was exciting. The things I learned in those four years changed my way of seeing the world and my place in it.
My first day of school I was an awkward thirteen-year old freshmen who felt so small in the sea of a massive student body. I walked around campus the first day of school and realized I was not in the safety of Middle School anymore. I felt so insignificant. I walked into my first class and looked around the room at the hopes of there being at least one familiar face. It seemed that High School was such a huge place and I would never make friends. This was my English class, the teacher stood at the front of the room. On her desk sat a book that read “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,” next to it was a stack of papers written by her upperclassmen students. She was an older woman, but I could tell that she was much wiser than I. I was surrounded by students as enamored with her eloquent use of language and knowledge as I was. The first day of class was only a glimpse into the amazing things I would learn about that year. I was nervous for what was ahead, but I quickly learned that it was worth it. Knowledge was something special. High School was still huge and I still felt unimportant, but I knew that the classroom was where I could thrive.
High School was a great time. I was now a senior and I wanted all the new students to be able to experience the amazing education that I had been given. All of this was challenged with one massive blow, budget cuts. Budget cuts majorly threatened the program that I was a part of. It threatened the funding for books, research, teachers, and many things that made my high school experience what it was. I realized that the one place I knew that I could feel important was slowly being taken away from me and all future students. This education was important to me, I wanted it back.
Within a few weeks I started a club. It was comprised of close group of friends, the younger siblings of those friends, and a few teachers. We were small, but we wanted to make a difference. We came up with a fundraising idea that was sure to get our whole community involved: a concert. There were going to be bands, a silent auction, and tons of food. I did not want to let anyone down. My small club had a big dream, could we actually pull this off? All I was sure of was that we wanted to regain control of our education.
As a freshman I never would have thought I would be in charge of a concert that raised money to fund the education that I took for granted. I was a small insignificant part of a huge school, the thought would not have even crossed my mind, but there I was. The happiness and control I had felt in the classroom was on a much bigger scale now. I knew I was helping to make a difference in continuing this education for future students. I sat backstage and looked out onto the hundreds of students, teachers, and parents who had come out to support this program; this amazing education. On stage were two students, singing satire original songs about our school. A few other members of the club were standing near me, and the smiles on their faces reflected their feelings of accomplishment. Although the jokes poked fun at our school, it made me realize how much I would not trade it for anything.
That night was a night I will never forget. Budget cuts told schools that education was not as important as Wall Street or the military. Budget cuts told students that they were unimportant and had no say in their education. That night we proved budget cuts wrong. We raised $18,000 for our school because knowledge was something special and it should not be taken away from us.
At the start of the next school year I went to visit the High School that had made such a big imprint on my life. I watched as new students filed into my 9th grade English class, they looked so small and naive. They would step into that classroom and begin one of the best journeys of education they could ever imagine. I smiled; I knew that their High School experience would be great.
At the start of the same school year, I became a freshman at the University of California, Riverside. I walked around campus the first week of school and realized I was not in the safety of High School anymore. It would have been easy for me to feel that same insignificant feeling. College was way bigger than High School, but oddly enough, I knew I was important. My experience in High School taught me that I am important and I can make a difference. Yes, I still find pleasure in the rush of a classroom, but now I know there is something bigger that I am a part of. Education is important, knowledge is wonderful, and therefore I know college will be a great time.