Friday, May 29, 2009


by JB

Middle school for me is like a roller coaster. Sometimes you can be terrified, and sometimes you can be having the best time of your life. Throughout my middle school experience I have been to three different middle schools. For my sixth grade year I went to Bay Area Technology School, or Baytech. For seventh grade, I attended American Indian Public Charter School, or AIPCS2. Then for my final middle school experience I went to Claremont Middle School, or Claremont.

If you're wondering why I went to three different schools, then let me put it this way: finding a good school is like finding a delightful piece of candy in a box of See’s. Sometimes you get a strawberry-filled nightmare and sometimes you get a caramel-filled dream. You’re just reaching in to OUSD hoping for something good. I got strawberry-filled. But I made do.

My first middle school experience was at Baytech. Even though the school claimed to be a technology school, it was just a charter school with two computer labs. But if you wanted to do the tetchy part you'd need to stay after school and play with Lego robots. The classes were a lot like the ones you'd find in a normal school, like English, math, social studies, and PE. But for 45 minutes you got to go to the computer lab and learn how to type! So it wasn't really a tech school where you can take apart computers and learn how to build them, you just got to sit in a cold room and play typing games. The reason I don't go to Baytech now is that my father was unhappy with the behavior of most of the kids. This led me to AIPCS2.

AIPCS2 was a charter school, so they could get away with whatever. The discipline was on a zero tolerance basis; speak out of turn and it's a 60-minute detention after school the next day, and if you dare not get the detention slip signed it's another detention for you. But when the parents stop signing and the detentions keep coming, what am I to do? If you did not do your homework you'd lose your desk and stand up in a corner of the classroom and copy a novel (good thing I had a clipboard). The whole man behind this school was Dr. Ben Chavis. But one day he met his match when a student in my class had enough and cursed out the dean and Mr. Chavis. It was epic! ...until she got expelled.

AIPCS2 didn't have a janitor, or if it did we made their job very easy. One time I had to mop the lobby of the school because I skipped Saturday school because my basement was flooded, so I had stayed home to help. The room that I had to mop was a 240 square foot room. The dean made me clean it and when he left he said, "I want to see you sweating when I come back." But the joke was on him, because I went out and changed the water and just tipped the mop bucket over and spread out the water. The reason that I don't attend AIPCS2 any longer is that my mother and I thought that the discipline and the workload were at an unneeded level.

Currently I attend Claremont Middle School. At the beginning of the school year, I thought these kids were f-ing crazy. On my first day, kids were breaking windows! I just said to myself, this is what you have to work with. AIPCS2 was an experience that you don't want to go through again, so make this work. When I first came to the school I was very observant. I saw what the in-crowd wore and I said, Good! Now I know exactly what not to buy and/ or wear. The funny thing is, if I wanted to I could have been one of them. I had the right friends, my closet was filled with what the popular kids wear, but I didn't see the point. At first I was a lone wolf, and proud of it, but I felt like I was missing something... A friend/s.

So I started to observe. I knew all of these kids didn't want to be here, but the kids that just put up with it and let the school year pass with as few problems as possible were the kids that I knew would be good friends. It took me a month and a half to build my friends list, but I befriended some of the best people that I have ever known. The only one that I'll name is Jackie. I hope she doesn't read this, but at first I thought she was weird. Every day she was a new character, one day a pirate, the next a hippie. It was when Ms. Thaler sat me at a table with her that I found out she was a friend in the making. But it's like I said: none of these kids want to be here, but those who fight it will just keep passing through the system until they hopefully wake the (expletive) up and try to get on the good foot before their life is over.

One of the people that helped me through the year was Ms. Susan Cristancho. When I first met her it was 9:43 A.M. Even though I thought I had this school wrapped up and I knew what was going on, Ms. Cristancho blew my mind with the history of the school and showed me the ugly face behind the china mask. I don't want to say much more- I said too much already. But Ms. C is the best teacher that I have ever known, and I'm sure she will stay the best.

To wrap it all up, Baytech was the chocolate-covered strawberry-filled school (the school boasts a technological environment but is just another way for kids to go on Myspace). AIPCS2 was like the coconut-filled because it seems to be a sweet deal with the high education standard, but as you get into it you notice it isn't so sweet, so you put that piece back. Claremont was a box of candy on its own. The school is so diverse that I'm not sure which single chocolate it is. Now that my middle school roller coaster is coming to the end, I can’t wait to get in line for high school's ride.


Skolnik said...

Wow, your writing is so compelling! I felt like I was on a roller coaster just reading it. I hope high school is smoother although you certainly figured out how to navigate the ups and downs well. I really appreciate your style and voice.

Anonymous said...

your writing is so great i also felt like i was on a roller coaster also!

Anonymous said...

i liked your description of comparing the schools you went to, to chocolate, claremont is definitely a box of chocolate on its own.

piemandude said...

pretty kool I like the roller coaster part

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Lovin' the chocalte part!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1