Education has always been a hot topic in my household. My family is always finding something to discuss or debate at the dinner table, and what could be more interesting than the idea of learning itself. However, when it came down to where my younger sister and I would attend school, there was little to no discussion.
My father attended private school all of his life, but he saw what public school held when he looked at his siblings. From that experience alone, he knew he wanted more for his kids, even if it meant paying tuition fees.
It was around this time however that my mother pointed out a charter school called View Park Prep that she found on Facebook. My father quickly began looking into it before finding out one of his friends had a child enrolled there. He heard about the amount of parent involvement in the school as well as the accelerated learning model and was sold. After a testament from such a highly regarded source, my father quickly began the process of getting me enrolled. It went off without a hitch, and I went from my preschool to Kindergarten as a View Park Knight.
Kindergarten through 6th grade flew by with numerous Honor Rolls and Principles List awards, but the significance didn’t really occur to me at the time, they were just slips of paper to hand to my parents.
However, in 7th grade, I ran into a problem that couldn’t be fixed with more studying. I was no longer flourishing in my studies as I had in all of my previous years. My father decided that it was time for a change of scenery. It was then that after eight years, I needed to be pulled from View Park.
My father didn’t know what he was going to do with me or my younger sister who was just two years behind me. As he was looking through Facebook, he found a page on a charter school beginning its first year that September. And with that, just days before we would have been forced to attend classes at View Park, we were officially unenrolled as knights.
Our new home was Westchester Secondary Charter School (WSCS). WSCS was our first experience in such a tiny setting, it was unusual to us that we knew everyone in all grades, after all there were only four grades with one to be added each following school year. We intimately got to know all of the students at WSCS and developed meaningful relationships with the staff.
While it took my sister a bit more time to adjust, I was enjoying the change in pace and the increased opportunity for socialization. It seemed like everything was going so well, even too good to be true. I suppose that I wasn’t too far from the truth. In 2016, WSCS admitted that it had been enduring some financial problems, it was worrying but not a deal breaker for most of the students in attendance.
We were a family, and we certainly didn’t want to be separated. This was the beginning of our attempt to save WSCS. We sent appeals to our representative and LAUSD to request a permanent location to build our school. We were denied. We requested that we be offered the opportunity to share a location still in Westchester so our student body could still attend. We were denied. The school would be moved to a location on the other side of Los Angeles, shared with a public school. All of the students would stay after school and march around the school. We wanted to raise awareness on what charter schools were and the injustices they were suffering at the hand of a flawed school district. Our voices were heard, but a solution wasn’t offered. With the move to the new location we lost a large chunk of our student population, and thus a lot of funding. This spelled the end of our school before it was official.
Our struggle lasted two years before our principle called it quits. She admitted that come the end of the school year, we would all need to find a new place to attend school. The decline in student attendance meant that the prior financial problems had been multiplied, the school was in debt and officially closing.
Changing schools in your senior year is not a common practice, making new friends when you’re a senior is even less common. These were the things I was concerned about, as my career at WSCS came to a close. It felt much like the experience when I had to say goodbye to View Park, yet it hurt more that I didn’t even have the safety net of somewhere of the same caliber to attend should I not find a new school.
Once again, it fell on my father’s shoulders to figure out where I would find one more year of high quality education to see me off to college, and two more years for his daughter.
My father’s solution came from a suggestion made by one of my old principles from View Park Prep. His name was Kenneth Wheeler and he told my father to seriously consider enrolling me in USC Hybrid High School, a charter school overseen and run by Ednovate.
My father had heard of this school a while back from a friend who was very involved on the boards of both View Park and WSCS. With this second mentioning, he put his plan into motion.
You see Hybrid is not an easy school to get into, especially in your senior year, the retention rates are rather high. My sister did not make it into the school on her lobby day, she was rather far down the wait list. I, on the other hand, managed to keep my lucky streak alive.
With only three seats open to incoming seniors, I secured the second seat in the lottery. This led to a technicality in the rules of Hybrid applications in reference to siblings. Hybrid gives priority to siblings of existing hybrid students for admission. As I was now a student at Hybrid, my sister was entitled to this priority and shot to number one on the waiting list. With a stroke of luck, we had managed to find another school at the last minute.
My short year at Hybrid High would be my most memorable and difficult year of school to date. The people I met would become long lasting influences in how I perceived life experiences from then on. I would graduate from USC Hybrid High School with High Honors for satisfactory completion and presentation of my senior thesis and go on to accept admission to Cal Poly Pomona for the fall of 2018.
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