Written and Photos by Royce Friedmann
Round 75.8 to the nearest whole number. Odds are that you got 76. You could do that simple math problem in your head. The problem that I have is that well-educated college graduates who are educating this country’s students cannot seem to do that kind of math. Lets try this again, round 78.64% to the nearest percent, remember, do this in your head. Of course you got 79%. I don’t know how educated you are, but as Equestrian data will tell me, you probably aren’t even out of high school yet, and you do something that most teachers completely fail to do.
You may be wondering why I’m bringing this up. The reason is because in three of my classes I have a 79.9%, 79.59%, and 89.67%, and all these teachers have decided not to round up my grades. All of these teachers are nice individuals who have told me that they like me, but why they can’t move me .1%, .41%, and .33% I have no idea. Simple math that you are capable of doing in your head will tell you that I should have two 80%, and one 90%. Now you may be asking, “What is the big deal? Why do you care so much about a combined .84%?” Since our school grants equal amount of GPA points for a B- as they do for a B+ and the same amount of points for a C- as they do for a C+, that .84% is the difference between 3 more GPA points. My teachers are saying that my 79.9% has the same worth as a 70%. I hope you can see why I’m frustrated.
As the end of the year approaches, there is a buzz as to where seniors will be going after graduation. Some college-bound seniors will leave California, some will stay, and some are not going to college at all.
“I did not want to stay in California. I feel like going to college has to be an experience that should be changing you, and has to expose you to other environments different [from] the one you’ve been living in your whole life,” said Eduardo Hernandez, who is going to Richmond, The American International University in London as an Economics major.
Eduardo Villegas is an incoming freshman for University of Colorado Boulder, and faces the stress of going out of state:
“Sometimes, you don’t really see yourself going somewhere, [but] next thing you know, you’re going there, and...it’s scary...I’m not sure how I’m gonna do it...but I just have to go for it.”
Both Hernandez and Villegas are two of the many people going out of state, including Yasmine El-Assadi (Baylor University, Texas), Eric Harman (Purdue University, Indiana), and Michelle Luna and Rachel Witter (Mercy College, New York). Yet there are several seniors who are content with staying in California, such as OCC-bound Tin Truong :
“I don’t want to be that far from home because my parents are getting really old and they don’t have that much time left and I wanted to spend time with them. And it’s also nice because...it’s, you know, cheaper. And it also gives me more time to find out what I really want to do.”
Some students are taking a path much different from the norm. Hayley Smith is one of the few taking the gap-year path. A “gap-year kid” is a student who chooses to take a year off of school.
“In that year I’m probably gonna work; hopefully at Disneyland, get a good job in a show, or at Universal Studios. There are professional theaters around, or a good job somewhere. [I might] go traveling with my parents...in Europe: Italy, Rome, Germany, Scotland.”
Aside from gap-year kids, there are also seniors planning go into the military service. Alicia Rederscheid, after attending OCC for two years, plans on joining the Navy. Her choice was influenced by the fact that her much of her family did the same, and she feels that it would lead to “better opportunities and better experiences.” Although Rederscheid admits to some fear, her outlook is positive nonetheless:
“...I think about all the good and everything I’ll be standing for. [Then] I’m not as scared. I’ll have a new family standing behind me and watching my back...I’m proud to be getting this opportunity.”
It is always strange to think that, after spending at least four years with the same people, everyone begins to go their separate ways. Whether it’s a local college, an out-of-state one, or neither, it is clear that most seniors have decided upon what path to take.
Additional Plans Not Shown on Map:
Summer is just around the corner, but with that joy also comes the farewell to the seniors.
We all want summer to come and it seems like it's been a long dragging year. Nobody seems to be more excited than the seniors, who will be graduating very soon. Although you'd expect most, if not all the seniors to be more than happy to leave, surprisingly, some will miss the thought of going to school.
Justin Steele Velasquez said, "I'm not going to lie, I've been waiting for this moment a long time! I can't believe it's finally here.." Justin added that he will definitely be coming back to visit once in a while and he appreciates all the teachers and friends who helped him out. "I am really excited that this is my last week of actual school. I can't wait until senior week!" Velasquez was involved and the school's waterpolo and swim team and hopes to later swim in college if possible.
As more seniors were asked how they felt about their last week of high school, we we took a walk down memory lane with Jake Lux.
"Dude, I remember coming here for middle school and playing basketball with my group of friends and just having fun! Then, in high school we kind of split. The group broke up in a way, and we all joined different groups, although we would say hi to each other at times. But this summer we're going to have a reunion and play at least once more before we all go to college." Lux seemed very excited about reminiscing. As he remembered all this, he said jokingly, "Man, I feel like all this was just yesterday. Where has my high school life gone?" Lux was a involved in ASB and was a very athletic student. He played many sports in high school and plans on doing football and soccer in college.
Andrew Wright mentioned that although he had come to Mesa as a new student, he had really gotten attached to the people and made many new friends that he would miss.
"Although I am finally graduating, I'm going to miss some of my friends. I don't know if we'll stay in touch, but I sure hope so." Wright is a basketball player that came from Calvary Chapel and will most likely continue to play in college.
Jesus Estrada is a senior who has been involved in the drama department as well as KMesa News and said, "I can't believe this moment has actually arrived! I always felt like I wanted this moment to come, but even though I'm excited, I am afraid that I am not ready. I'm going to miss this place and all the great people I met here."
As we reach the end of what has been a seemingly endless school year, we say goodbye to the seniors and thanks for sharing those memories. Most of them agree that they will miss school but are glad to be graduating in a few days, with the exception of Eduardo Hernandez who sarcastically said, "Pssht, my last week of high school, yeah!"
My original intent in writing this was to complain about the fact that senior students are being mandated to attend Senior Week. In other words, being mandated to pay money and possibly do something they are truly not “into doing”.
Instead, I will clear a few things up since they were apparently not made clear.
Seniors get released an entire week early from school days to do what? Have fun. I for one am very excited. I have been looking forward to this all year. An entire week put aside for my class to enjoy our last high school moments. It’s sentimental and it’s nostalgic.
Personally, I paid for senior week early in the school year, as soon as I could.
Other students obviously didn’t. For countless days now, we have heard Ms. Scott say on the announcements to come by the ASB window and talk to her or Laurie about paying for senior week because senior week was still on sale.
About one-two months ago, seniors got a green sheet of paper that outlined all the events that they could participate in before graduation; everything from prom, to the talent show, to senior week. In big italic letters above where senior week was planned out said, “*The Following Dates Are MANDATORY and ATTENDANCE will be taken*”.
This idea of going to something that some of the seniors were just not “into” didn’t settle right with them. On top of that seniors were being mandated to pay money.
Word got around, and before I could rant about how illogical this was, I had to get more information.
I had a conversation with Ms. Scott to gain further clarification on the matter. Ms. Scott would be much more knowledgeable about senior week than most of my peers. She let me know that there are seniors who don’t want to pay, and there are seniors who can’t pay.
Ms. Scott said, “Every senior who has come to see me, we have made arrangements for them to be included.”
I was not aware of the fact that there are donations coming in from different sources to fund senior week that also contributes to helping those seniors who can’t come up with the money.
The Costa Mesa community, including teachers and parents, have donated to senior week. Bonnie Aden, and the rest of the ladies who help in the cafeteria are coming to school this Sunday morning (Father’s day) to prepare all the breakfast casseroles that will be served at the senior breakfast in the gym on Monday.
She also let me know that senior week is in place of school. The only event that is not during school hours is the lock-in. This should not be another excuse for seniors to ditch there last days of high school. Ditching would be marked as “cuts” or “truant” and the students ditching would be the ones who don’t care about school in the first place.
“Senior Week is a Costa Mesa tradition that has been in place for five years. It was generated by me and I gained the Board of Education’s approval in replacing these instructional minutes with fun activities,” Ms. Scott shared.
Lastly, I was told that every senior who participated in senior week did not regret it. The Activities Office could recall one instance where a senior was hesitant about going and didn’t think they would have a lot of fun or if it would be worth it. This senior went to the ASB Window afterwards and said how much fun she had and thanked ASB for pushing them to go.
Saturday-Sunday: Senior Lock-in
Monday: Bachelorette, Breakfast, Speeches/Reflections
Tuesday: Senior Bowling @ the District
Wednesday: Graduation Practice
Thursday night: Grad Night
We all know of the two math and science-based programs at Costa Mesa High School (M.E.S.A and Delta), but why do we have two? Even though the two are quite similar, there are several fundamental differences that allow one program to reap certain benefits that the other does not.
M.E.S.A. stands for Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement, a nationally recognized program that began in 1977. M.E.S.A was originally created to help minorities that wanted to pursue a career based on math and science. The goal was to help the students get to and be successful in college. At Costa Mesa High School, the M.E.S.A. program is offered to anyone who wants help getting to college and achieving a degree in math, science, and/or engineering.
Delta, on the other hand is a program that was created by our district (NMUSD) for students who are advanced in math and science. It was created at Davis Magnet School to help the students grow. The creators of Delta wanted to help the students get to high school and college and continue to be advanced in these areas. Delta began at Davis Magnet School and has carried on to Costa Mesa Middle School. There are several requirements to be in Delta, which are being a part of the class of 2016 and lower, doing a science fair project, being in M.E.S.A or Academic Decathlon, and having the required grades.
Membership in either M.E.S.A. or Delta differs in several ways. The biggest benefit that comes from joining M.E.S.A is that because it is a nationally-known program, when put on college transcripts, the colleges are familiar with the name and what the program is. On the other hand, because Delta is only a district program, colleges are not familiar with the program. Since Delta requires membership in M.E.S.A. or Academic Decathlon, it’s a win-win situation for the Delta students because they can put both programs in their transcripts.
Even though both programs are very successful at CMHS, both are also hitting problems. Both programs need a certain amount of funds to keep going. Delta is fairly secure at the moment, but once their funding ends, the program could ultimately lose members or shut down completely. Math teacher Mr. Poveda stated, “The problem I see with Delta is money. When the funding untimely ends, which I know it will it’s not going to go on forever, when the funding runs out, what is there to inspire the students to do what they are doing?” The funds for Delta go toward field trips and activities related to math and science, but once the funding ends, it will be much harder for them to do these things. Since Delta is a district program, they get to go on long field trips such as San Francisco and Arizona, but because M.E.S.A is a national program and doesn’t receive the same amount of funds, they cannot do the same things.
Although the terms are often confused, there are several fundamental differences between the Delta and M.E.S.A. programs at Costa Mesa High School.
There are about three weeks left of school. Excited? Filled with a fever, a lust for summer and freedom? Well, the next few weeks are going to be agony for most of you, most of all, for the seniors. You see, at this point in the year, motivation starts to take a big hit. For some reason, everyone simultaneously begins to care less and less about school, and more and more about starting summer break. Now, you might argue that the reasons are obvious: summer is nigh, and we just can’t wait for it to arrive! But underneath that is a much more important issue – the way the school year is laid out is flawed.
The reason that so many students are feeling less motivated at this point in the year is simple. There seems to be almost nothing to do. We have spent the whole school year learning new material, covering important topics in science, math, English, history. In May, we are given a standardized test on the information we have accrued throughout the year, whether it be the Advanced Placement Test, the CST, or both. And when we finally finish our exams, we experience a sense of satisfaction. The year is essentially over; we have gotten through the final obstacle.
Except, now that this testing is over, we have a month of school in which very little actually happens. During this dead period, many teachers will give their students extra credit assignments or amusing activities to do. Others will spend time reviewing topics for the semester finals. Despite these efforts by teachers to give students something to do, students can’t help but feel like it’s all a little pointless. Unless someone has a borderline grade, there is very little need for extra credit assignments, and other assignments can feel like time-killers rather than actually teaching important information.
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It’s no coincidence that seniors need to be reminded not to skip school at this point in the year. Why waste time doing nothing important in school when you could just stay home or go out with friends? This is especially true for AP students – by this time, all the relevant content for the class has been covered in preparation for AP testing. What is there left to do?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion or position of The Equestrian.