The name’s Tirado, Aremy Tirado. Recently I had my last day of high school at Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus, and looking back on all four years of blood, sweat, and tears, I found that being a “charter school kid” consisted of being socially aware, being held to higher standards as a result of the rigorous academics, and being part of a tight-knit community.
Social awareness in a charter school environment varies from political activism to the inclusiveness of everyone on campus. Students being motivated to get involved in politics and having the opportunity to come together and speak freely in a public sphere about issues pertaining to our everyday lives is a prominent feature in the life of a charter school student. Along with the promotion of political activism, there is an emphasis placed on the inclusive nature of the student body. There are no “cliques” or groups of people who only associate with each other in charter schools. Everyone speaks to everyone. I found that all throughout high school I drifted from friend group to friend group. But, all the groups had one thing in common, everyone cared for each other. Nothing happened in one group that the others did not know about. When the group had issues, we would all sit down and talk it out. The small school population allowed for small friend groups. The ability to sit down and talk to each other led to an improvement in our social and communication skills.
The rigorous academic system set high standards for success. The standards were never lowered for me to succeed. Also, I had a constant support system. I was given the help I needed to meet the said standards. This aspect of school, pushed me to set high standards for myself in everything I do. Having high standards set for myself and having people to motivate me every step of the way really helped shape my own perspective on what I want in life. My classes were very hands-on and project based. We were taught to put what we learned into practice and to do it with excellence. We were taught to work together and to help each other in any way we can. Our classes were very small in size which allowed for us to really get to know our teachers and our classmates. The small sizes made it easier for us to get one-on-one help from our professors. The intimacy of our education in the classrooms made it possible for our teachers to learn how every student learns.
Our tight-knit community allowed us to develop healthy relationships with the community outside of school and with each other. This also allowed for many fun bonding moments. These bonds would later develop into a separate support system for students apart from their homes and families. Students were exposed to many different cultures and many different traditions increasing the appreciation in the student population for other people.
I’m 17-years-old, and I graduated on June 1, 2018. My post-graduation life has begun. Growing up I was always told that graduating high school would open the door for the rest of my life. I am a first-generation American and am the first in my family to attend and graduate from a four-year university. Graduating means the world to me! I finally proved to my family that I’m not just another kid. I finally showed that I have worked my hardest in school and have taken full advantage of my charter school experience. At Agassi prep, my charter school experience has been nothing less than memorable and empowering.
This blog is a part of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' month long celebration of #CharterGrads.