The greatest aspect of the educational experience at ASL is the freedom to choose one’s own path. I’m not necessarily talking about the courses one decides or decides not to take, but rather the trail that each student chooses to pursue outside of the classroom. A high school experience based solely on the traditional offerings is not enough; in order to achieve an engaging and impactful four years, an independent interest outside the classroom must be pursued.
Whether it be sports, robotics, the arts, community partnerships, or countless other experiences, these opportunities are often taken for granted. It is easy to under appreciate the resources available to you, to succumb to a mind- set where these luxuries are merely the norm. It is vital that these essential learning opportunities are taken advantage of and appreciated by each and every student; it is a unique chance to break away from the confines and limits of the traditional classroom setting and pursue some- thing that you are passionate about.
It is obvious that amazing things are happening everyday within these walls; students organized and ran an entire TEDx conference, students convene to discuss disciplinary cases in an extremely professional and serious manner, and students are beginning to blaze their own trails as teachers in the Lower School – to name a few. The resources, the support, and the opportunities are there, and it is time for students to start appreciating ASL and taking some initiative.
I have seen first hand the benefits of undertaking a meaningful and engaging extracurricular experience. I enrolled in Journalism as a freshman, and I can honestly say that it was one of the most significant decisions of my high school career. My experience on The Standard has pushed me to think critically, to question authority, and to give people an alternative perspective. Furthermore, I’ve forged relationships with people who otherwise would have been strangers to me in the hallway. Four years later, I still get excited when we send to press. If I left school with just a re?sume? and a list of grades, I probably wouldn’t be satisfied. It’s this experience outside the classroom that has meant the most to me.
High school is exactly what you want it to be. You can do as much or as little – to a certain ex- tent – as you want. However, I encourage each and every one of you to blaze your own trail and find something meaningful to you at some point during your High School career; these experiences can act as beautiful times of discovery.
Try to learn something new, whether it is about yourself or what you are studying. Take a risk and learn something you can’t be taught in a classroom; these are the lessons you will remember in 20 years.