The transition from a private, predominately white middle school to a diverse, several hundred-student public highschool has impacted my life in more ways than one. Attending Calvary Lutheran for 13 years, I was very sheltered from the outside world. Together, all 11 of my classmates were very close, since we had shared many years of memories. However, we had never encountered any real struggles together. The sad reality was that the world had more to offer than these eleven individuals, who were all similarly personified. When I enrolled in Arroyo High, I never anticipated the impact that it would have on me or the inspiration to incite change.
At Arroyo, we employ small learning communities to direct students into their desired profession. Naturally, I chose Future Leaders for Social Change because it best suited my outgoing personality, however, at the time I was not aware of the personal growth that would eventually transpire. What I soon realized was that through this opportunity to be among passionate teachers and fellow students who believed strongly in equal opportunity, women's rights, and change, I found my true self. It became clear to me that this was my obligation to create some ripple of change in the world. Through our English and elective classes, I was exposed to a myriad of social injustices. I never thought that through school, I could become so inspired to pursue a career as a full time activist.
Simultaneously, I was in the process of making friends and finding a niche. Within one of my future based electives, I met one of my best friends Britney*. Britney and I became very close, closer than my old classmates at Calvary Lutheran, due to one pivotal incident. She had been to my house many times, but could never spent the night because her mother was "strict" as she used to put it, and I never questioned her. However, I noticed that she had been acting very differently and when I inquired about her behavior, she ultimately confided in me that her mother had been physically and mentally abusing her for months. One night a couple months later, Britney arrived at my doorstep at 11 o'clock at night crying with no shoes on, proclaiming she had sprinted all the way to my house in attempt escape the beating her mother had to her as her sibling watched.
Being a sophomore at the time, I felt powerless. Here my best friend is trapped in a situation she cannot get out of, and I couldn't do anything. Throughout the whole ordeal I stood by her side emotionally, but also I put myself to work trying to think of ways I could initiated change for children who have experienced similar situations as Britney has. Through my elective, Sociology of Urban Issues, administered by The Future Academy, I coordinated a group of students to stand up to child abuse. Throughout a month of collecting donations, and presenting in various freshmen health classes about how to prevent, and to protect themselves from child abuse. It was very successful, as we collected close to $400 in under a month, and donated to CASA, a local child abuse prevention agency.