18 Days Until Graduation!

I am very ready to graduate high school. I have already packed three boxes full of stuff ready to ship to college. The thing I am most excited for in college is gaining independence. At my boarding school, all my actions are controlled since the school is responsible for everything I do. 

Last weekend, I had a plan to go visit one of my friends who is in college. I was planning to go with my classmate who is going to the same college as my friend next year. Since my classmate and my friend there don’t know each other very well, I wanted to be the bridge to help them get to know each other better.

Photo Credit: s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

On the Friday we were supposed to leave, we got a notice that we weren’t allowed to go. I was shocked. I had been able to get through my busy week by thinking about the weekend, and I had really been looking forward to it. All our transportation and other arrangements that my friend had set up counted for nothing. I felt so sorry for my friends, and I was so disappointed.

The reason our plan wasn’t approved is because we are not allowed to sleep overnight on a college campus. We were told that “a college campus is a dangerous place to be.”  I understand the school’s responsibility and that they sometimes need to be overprotective, but I didn’t expect our trip to be canceled.

I really need my independence. I am over 18 and can make my own choices regarding where I want to go and what I want to do. This is one of the reasons why I am very ready to graduate.

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The Truth About Boarding High School

What is your impression of a boarding high school? Maybe you think it’s a place where bad behaved teenagers are sent. Well, this is not always the case. For example, I came to boarding school to get an American education.

I’m dyslexic, and I grew up in Japan where the disorder isn’t known at all. I was terrified to go to school there because my parents told me that if people found out I was dyslexic I would get bullied. I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. The constant fear of someone discovering my secret crushed my spirit and my school life. Even though I studied hard late into the night, my grades were terrible. As an excuse for not doing well I pretended to be dumb and lazy. I couldn’t be myself, and no one could offer me help.

My life has changed completely since I came to OVS (my boarding school.) I’m getting good grades and am in student council, something I always dreamed of but couldn’t do in Japan because it involved a lot of reading. I’m able to play tennis, which I quit at home because I needed more time to study. I’m able to work on my photography and Photoshop skills. And most importantly, I’m able to tell people that I’m dyslexic without being ashamed about it or worried that I’ll be bullied.

It wasn’t easy to leave my friends and family, adjust to a language I wasn’t fluent in, and start life at a boarding school with new people. But my decision saved my life.

The video below shows a glimpse of what boarding school is really like.

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

Graduation

It’s here in five weeks, the day we have all been waiting for; graduation.

June third is the end of a beautiful chapter in our lives. I have grown so much in these past four years that I would say I am now, at 18, a completely different person than I was at 14 when I was a freshman.

I was so sure at 14 that I wanted to go to Stanford University and become a lawyer, and nobody could convince me otherwise.

Now at 18, I am going to Chapman University and majoring in either political science or business (still not sure), which I cannot believe because four years ago if you were to ask me to live in Los Angeles I would say absolutely not.

This year, I only wanted to go to schools in LA and did not even consider Stanford.

Regardless, I am beyond excited to be going off to study at Chapman in five months. I cannot explain my gratitude for everyone who has helped me throughout the past four years.

I am ecstatic.

 

Brothers or Losers

Lacrosse is one of if not the hardest team sport offered to high school students. Coming into the 2016 season I had little optimism and little enthusiasm; we were coming off a no-win season and we were only losing more and more experienced players. We’ve added numerous new names to the roster, but very few of which have any lacrosse experience. It’s proving to be quite a challenge for the OVS lacrosse team to come together and play to their full potential.

For those that aren’t familiar with lacrosse it is a blend of soccer, hockey, football, and basketball. Every player has a stick customized to his preference and position. There are short poles, long poles, and a goalie stick. There are two half to a lacrosse field and ten players total. Three defensive players have to stay on their respective sides and three offensive players stay to theirs, the midfield can move between the two sides freely, the goalie stays in the goal. The game is very fast paced and each team will try to set up on the other teams side until someone has the opportunity to shoot on the goal. All players must wear a helmet, mouth guard, gloves, arm pads, and a shoulder pad. Lacrosse is a full contact sport that will make you want to quit after the first quarter of a game.

Here’s an in-depth video on what lacrosse is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXO1lPc3p38

I’m hoping that as the season progresses and we go through more practices and games the team can start to come together and learn to play this amazing sport as a team. Our first game comes March 16th, every game is winnable, but only if we want it more than the other team.

Why I Do Not Enjoy Boats

Yesterday in AP Environmental, our teacher told the class that we are taking a class field trip to Anacapa Island. For most, this news was great, but for me, not so much.

Not many things scare me to the point of wanting to run away, but boats do.

So, let me tell you how this fear originated.

I went on a trip to Catalina Island in sixth grade. They told us the boat ride would be easy, with two to three-foot​ swells. We got on the boat and sailed off into the Pacific.

The boat ride there was easy, just like they said, two-foot​ swells.

But the ride back was much different.

They told us the same wave prediction again, but nearly ten minutes after sailing off from the island, we instantly knew something was wrong.

It was windy and storm – no rain, but clouds completely covering the sky. We continued on, only to be prepping for an emergency about a half an hour into the ride.

The boat was rocking side to side, but not in a relaxing motion, in the way that I was almost sure we were going to capsize. The waves looked like they were going to cover the side of the boat, terrifying everyone.

The scariest part was that when I went to my teacher for comfort, the only thing she had to say was that I should make sure I know where a life vest is.

We made it back to the Long Beach harbor, but since that day I have never gotten on a boat.

 

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.