I stared out at the endless sea of students stretching before me, terrified of becoming lost in the masses. I desperately searched for a familiar face, but saw none. I was completely alone in a crowd of hundreds. Thousands of thoughts raced through my mind in that instant, most telling me to turn back, go home, and never return to Casa Grande High School. Somehow, though, I found the strength to begin to move myself forward; unfortunately, those first few steps seemed to last for hours, leading me nowhere.
Suddenly, a distant call pulled me out of the daze and I looked ahead into the distance: a friend! I had finally found a friend! With that, I was quickly guided to my first period class and towards the rest of my high school career.
On that first day of high school I had no idea what to expect. I had come to the decision to attend Casa Grande very hesitantly; I previously attended only private, Christian schools. I had been accepted to Sonoma Academy, a private school, and Tech High, a magnet school, and I wrestled both with my parents and with myself about which of these institutions I should attend. SA had become my dream high school during eighth grade, but I quickly realized that the cost of attending such a school would be crippling.
This left me with the choices of Tech High and Casa, of small classes or large classes, of what I was familiar with and what I knew nothing of. In the end, I took a leap of faith and chose Casa.
The primary delay towards my acceptance of Casa was simple yet completely biased: I believed that by going to a public school, I would not have a chance of going to a reputable college and having a successful future. I always assumed that the level of academic success at a public high school was low and that the students were unmotivated, pot-smoking, heavy-drinking hedonists. Unsurprisingly, my assumptions were immediately put to rest. Within a week at Casa I had already encountered students who were engrossed in learning and participating in school, a curriculum that was challenging and effective, and teachers who were fully committed to preparing students for the rigors of graduating, going to college, and entering the world. In short, it was not what I had been expecting.
There have certainly been moments at Casa where I have doubted my own abilities to guarantee myself a successful future, but never have my classes or teachers been the reason behind those doubts. To be successful you must seek out your own success; to rely on success being handed to you is to fail. I have learned this lesson, seeking out rigorous courses that challenge my ability to learn and study but that also present information in a relevant and engaging manner.
When I have found myself failing to meet these standards, my teachers have always been behind me, guiding me towards the answer and giving me the tools to overcome obstacles. I have also surrounded myself with peers who share the same values and standards on education that I do, students intent on finding their own personal success in life. In this environment I have found success and pride in all that I have accomplished.
As I look towards my future I appreciate what high school has taught me, the experiences I have enjoyed, and the life-long friends I have made.
There has not been one day where I have regretted choosing Casa Grande as my high school.
Casa has facilitated the success I have encountered thus far in my life, and as I prepare to enter UCLA’s theater program I know that I will always carry a piece of Casa with me.