Thank You OVS

I’ve started this draft several times. I’ve written sentences and sentences only to change them, revise them, and, eventually, just completely eradicate them and end where I started: with nothing. Because every time I try to write about this, I can’t formulate the right words to say. Even though I’ve discovered at OVS that one of my biggest passions is writing, I’m speechless when I try to write about what these last four years meant to me.

When I came to OVS for the first time, I was an awkward freshman. I had no friends, no idea what I was doing, and no idea who I was or who I wanted to be.

The four years to follow threw me in for a loop of highs and lows in self development, friendships, and life. Now I have just a couple days until the craziest, most amazing four years of my life come to an end. Every year at this time, I had a strong desire for the days to end as quickly as possible so I could enjoy my summer break. This time, I’m scared for the inevitable last day of school to come. I’m holding on to every last second I can.

I’ve been to three graduations here. Every single one making me sadder than the rest, but there was always happiness in my heart when I’d hug my friends goodbye for the summer, especially because I knew I’d see them again. On May 31st, I’ll hug all my friends, but, when fall rolls around, I won’t see them again on the hill that’s been my second home for the past four years. We’ll all be scattered across the country taking on different cities and pursuing different passions. We won’t see each other at breakfast every morning or at the barn at the end of every day. We’ll see each other through FaceTime calls and at reunions during our holiday breaks. I’m bound to cry at graduation because of it all.

I’m happy we’re all going to colleges we want to go to and I know that these friends are the ones I’ll have for life. But the realization that this is our last week as high schoolers together is still sending a wave of shock over me that I’ve been drowning in the past couple weeks.

I’m horrified for what the future holds, but, at the same time, I feel so ready. Four years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be ready for college and eight years ago I didn’t have any faith that I would even be going to college. Now, I’m excited to walk into the unknown and I have OVS to thank for it all:

For being a school that’s given me the opportunity to branch out and try everything I could ever want to try. I didn’t have to stick to one niche. I got to be a risk-taking athlete, an unfiltered writer, a confident leader, and everything in between.

Photo Credit: ocsaledger.com

The equestrian program for giving me a horse I love more than myself. For giving me a place I’ve made my best friends.

The camping trips where I went running through the Yosemite forests at night time with no flashlight and rode the bull of the raft while river rafting on the Kern trip. For making me push my limits and having them turn out to be the most rewarding moments of my life. For making me realize I love camping even though I hate going days without showering.

For my AP Spanish class making me fall in love with the language all over again and decide to study abroad in Spain instead of France. Law/Gov class that furthered my excitement to move to D.C. to study politics and intern on Capitol Hill. Especially for my journalism class that provided a source of gossip, a place to rant, and an endless supply of snacks, but more importantly, it has given me an outlet to explore writing and inspire me to pursue it in college.

Thank you for everything. For the good, the bad, and everything in between. No words could say it all.

I’m not gonna lie and say this school is perfect. There’s so much I’ve complained about and so many things I would change. But if I’m going to be honest, it was perfect for me. It was the place I needed for the kind of person I was to become who I am today. I had no idea what my purpose was or what my passions were and, while I’m still on a road of self-discovery, OVS put me on the right path.

And for that, I’ll forever be thankful.

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Making an Impact by Reducing It

I saw this tweet a few days ago and I think it is something we all need to be more concerned with.

And, it’s not just about climate change, it’s about everything involving the environment. We’ve done a lot of damage. When it comes to bettering our environment, it’s too late for preventative measures. We’re just playing catch up now.

Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. We’re so used to living the way that we do, it’s not always easy to put the planet first.

If you want to reduce your impact or help the planet but don’t know how, here are a few things you can try implementing into your routine:

Photo Credit: pinterest.com
  • Say no to plastic. The next time you eat out, tell your server you don’t need straws. Especially, if it’s fast food. There is no reason for you to take a lid and a straw for your drink. Buy glass bottles instead of plastic ones – they’re easier to recycle. If you’re planning on eating out, bring reusable containers to take left overs home.
  • Be mindful of product packaging. For example, buy bar soap instead of liquid soap. This can include shampoos and conditioners; there are plenty of eco-friendly options that don’t use plastic packaging. Don’t buy anything with excessive packaging. Cardboard or paper packages are the best options. Buy in bulk as much as you can.
  • Buy second hand. I understand that, from time to time, it’s nice to treat yourself to a new item and that’s fine. But, for the most part, you can find everything you need at thrift stores and you’ll save money too. There are also plenty of websites where you can buy used items (for those of you who like online shopping).
  • Keep it local. Shop at farmer’s markets and support local businesses. Buy produce that is in season. This reduces the distances that items need to be transported and causes less fuel emissions.
  • Don’t waste food. Shop for groceries using a list and only buy what you need. Don’t cook more food than you can eat. It is better to have no leftovers at all, but, if you do, try to actually eat them later.

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce your impact, do some research. There is so much information out there that can help us be better.

I’m not perfect. I try my best to be conscious of everything I do and the impact it will have, but I still have a lot of ways in which I could be better.

To some people, conservation might seem like a hopeless cause. But as long as we’re trying, if each day we do one more thing that reduces our impact, then, there is still hope.

A Letter to Past Generations

Dear people of the past,

I am one person out of millions. I may be small, but my voice will not be silenced. We will no longer be silenced by beliefs made centuries ago.

We will not be silenced by beliefs that are killing innocent lives, or by the beliefs that are discriminating against the people who are finally becoming proud of who they are.

We are the new generation. We are the millennials, the Gen. Z kids, and the generations to come, and we are proud of ourselves for the world we’re determined to create.

We may be young, and we may not know everything about the world, but we are still learning, still improving, and we are definitely still fighting.

We are strong

We are resilient.

And we are powerful.

But we aren’t defined by adjectives; we are the future. In just a few years, most of us will be given the power to vote, and we will remember when you ignored our pleas.

Photo Credit: ABC News.

You ignored our pleas for equal rights, our pleas to not feel afraid to walk into our schools, our pleas for an equal opportunity you pride your country over yet fail to fulfill.

We will remember what you refused to give us, and we will take it ourselves.

The years will come, and the world will become ours. Not just for one percent of us, but for everyone.

A world where students can walk into their schools without the fear that they’d never walk out.

A world where people are free to love who they wish to.

A world where people are judged by their personality or by what they bring to the world. Not by the color of their skin, or their preference of who they love.

So remember this

We may be young,

But we are angry.

And you can try silence us, but we will rise, and we will scream louder than ever.

A Montage

I suppose this is the end. My last blog. The last post I write, and the last one I publish. The last piece of writing I do for Ojai Valley School – the place that has taught me how to write.

I came to school my freshman year having written essays before, but only formal, structured pieces for English class. I’ve always been one to write down my thoughts – I carry around a journal and have always documented my raw emotions. But before coming to OVS, I had never shared my writing with others.

Freshman year, I sat down in my first Humanities class, unaware of the flood of writing to come. Reading journals galore, I had little blurbs of writing due once or twice a week. Those reading journals were analytical, but they allowed me to delve into my thoughts and share my own interpretation of the material – something I had never done for school before.

And I think those reading journals, back in freshman year Humanities, bridged the gap between writing for myself and writing for school. And that allowed me to delve into Journalism, which introduced me to writing for others.

Fast forward four years. Here I am, at the end of senior year. Freshman year, I learned the value of my own thoughts in writing. And sophomore year, when I started taking Journalism, I truly learned the wonder of writing. I found my voice, and learned how to tell stories. I learned how to paint pictures of other people’s accomplishments and what goes on around campus. I learned to blog – to write metaphorically, and to eloquently share my deepest, most honest emotions. I truly learned to put my thoughts into words, and to fearlessly share them with the world.

So, again, here I am, writing my last blog post. I have written all sorts of blog posts over the past three years – ones that are funny, sad, sarcastic and honest. And now I have to wrap it up. This is the last thing I will write this year, for any class. The last bit of work I do before I graduate, the last bit of work I do in high school.

That’s pretty crazy.

Today is Wednesday, May 31st. On Friday, June 2nd, I graduate. I’m beyond excited, but also terrified. It doesn’t feel real. I always knew I’d get to this point, but now that I’m here it’s hard to grasp. It’s hard to believe that it’s me. I’m about to graduate high school. I’m about to be in college.

I can’t believe I made it. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but I really mean it. These past four years have been pretty hectic. But here I am. T minus two days and I’ll be walking across the stage.

And I can’t wait.

I’m sad to be leaving – OVS has done so much for me and I’m going to miss it. All my friends, all my teachers, they’re going to be hard to leave. But OVS has prepared me well for college, and now I’m ready to move forward.

So goodbye and thank you to OVS, to Journalism, and all the writing I’ve done here. It’s the end of an era, and a great one too.

T minus two days.

Photo Credit: i.huffpost.com

Last. Blog. Ever.

Tonight, I am writing my last blog for the Ojai Valley School Journalism class.

I have has such an incredible experience here at OVS, and a part of that was being involved in this class.

Being given the opportunity to express my opinion on whatever I feel like has been amazing. Blogging has been an amazing outlet for me and writing articles has allowed me to strengthen my writing skills in a fun manner.

I would like to thank Mr. Alvarez for his incredible support for the past two years, academically and personally. He is truly one of my favorite humans in the entire world, and he is someone I would do nearly anything for.

This time is bittersweet. Leaving high school, and the journalism program, will be upsetting; but I am growing up and moving on, and that is a beautiful thing in itself.

I cannot wait to share my experiences in college with my family, friends, and former teachers. I wish everyone at OVS the best, even Harley.

I will be forever thankful for my time here at OVS.

*@KENNYROO NO PICTURE

Journalism Competition

Photo Credit: staticsquaarespace.com

Monday, March 30th, OVS’ Journalism class took a trip down to Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks for a Journalism competition.

I have only been in Journalism for a little over three months now, so this is still all very new to me. Regardless, I was very excited.

After waking up at 5:30 a.m., we got some coffee and drove to the competition.

This competition is held each year and OVS has won awards almost every year they have competed.

I was competing in the Feature category with my fellow journalist, Daphne Psaledakis.

Our speaker told an interesting story about a Patagonian sheep herder traveling to the United States in order to earn higher pay so that he could support his family and his children can have a higher education.

It was intriguing and interesting, and something I had never heard a lot about previous to the competition.

Although I did not place at the end of the competition, some of my fellow journalists did. I was so proud of them, and even though I did not win an award, I learned so much from this experience that will help me to become a better writer.

 

The Importance of Accuracy in Journalism

Accuracy is the most important factor in a piece. All stories should be double checked for facts, sources and quotes in order for them to be believable. Journalists strive for factual stories.

Here are some examples of some mistakes:

1- Misspelling a name

2- Fake or not credible sources

3- Fabrication of Quotes

4- Fabrication of stories

5- Wrong title for a person (Mr., Ms., Mrs.,  Etc.)

On another note, the biggest fruit company in the world, Apple Inc. has shipped millions of its new delicious fruits called Iphones. Its former CEO Stephen Joobs, who passed out from money poisoning has come down from heaven to retrieve some of this new  delicious treats.