The number of people in a school.
The number of parking spaces.
The number of people per class.
The number of desks in a class.
The number of times you have to try out for a sport's team.
Pretty small numbers, huh?
Now a new number comes in toll.
Ah. High school. Home of the good and bad, popular and unpopular, smart and stupid.
It's a whole new thing for all of us; it's a different life and, for most people, the best times of their lives. From the loud screaming and cheering at football games, that look we see on the faces of so many of our classmates when the cafeteria serves mystery meat, up to the deathining silence of the classroom during test time, high school is just something else.
As good as high school sounds, it comes with a boatload of other stuff too. What will people think about my hair, my clothes, my status, and all that stuff we obsess over and laugh at when we're 60. For Amber Beltran, it was the number of people. Coming from a school of small numbers, Akins High School was humungous. With a population of 2,450 and counting, you can just imagine how she felt!
"I was just "Wow!" The gym was so big for me, and there were so many people. There were so many classrooms and the cafeteria was bigger. I was scared yet amazed at the hugeness of it all. I eventually adjusted to the whole thing."
Well, I know that's how I would have felt if I came from such a small school. For most of us, it almost seems unrealistic; impossible to even imagine.
"My old school went from grades Pre-K to 12. There were about 35 people in each class. There weren't a lot of people, obviously, and to join a team sport, you didn't even have to try out! The classes were also a lot easier and not as challenging. It was a nice place."
I then asked Amber about the social life at her school. Our schools are literally flooded with cliques and status awareness, partly because there's so many people. I was surprised with the answer that I received.
"I know that there was peer pressure, but there weren't any obvious cliques like there are here. Since it was such a small school, everyone pretty much knew each other and everyone hung out with the same people at lunch, breakfast, and just in general. One down side was that there was a lot of drama at our school. Since there weren't that many people, news would travel fast. If you told somebody something in 1st period, practically 3/4 the school would know it by 3rd period."
Of course, every high school has its flaws, and yes, even Akins.
"My least favorite thing has to be the block schedule, and lunch is also really weird. This whole thing is really confusing. I don't like having only 5 minutes to walk to the opposite side of the school only to get to class. The only good thing about it is that it doesn't make the day pass by so long and drawny. But I do like seeing new faces everyday and meeting new people all the time in each class and the hallways. Most of the people are also very nice and friendly. One of my favorite classes though is Teen Leadership because it's really fun."
Most of us also enter high school with a pretty clear image of what we want our high school experience to be. The is what Amber told us of her image.
"I wanted high school to be fairly easy yet challenging at the same time because I love a good challenge. I knew in the beginning that it would be challenging and different from 8th grade, but I was ready for it. I wanted to make friends and be involved; I think these are the keys to having a good school year."
She also added that there are lots of things she wants to change about high school.
"I would want to change all the drug use, violence, and all of the things that make more problems. I would also want to change having only 5 minutes to walk so far from class to class. and have a longer lunch."
She also talked about the things she would like to not change about high school, but about the world.
" I would want to change issues from war, chaos, poverty etc., to the smallest things."
Well, I think we can all agree that Amber Beltran is doing a pretty good job dealing with high school, and she agrees.
"I am proud of having a lot of confidence because of all the speeches I've been having to give and all the new people that I've met so far. I think confidence is such an important thing to have, and that is one of the very first things a person looks at."
Amber Beltran is someone who has proved that you can be confident and have dreams, even if you come from small numbers.