Last week, Elysian Charter School hosted a "Meet and Greet" for alumni who went on to attend Hoboken High School. The teens were invited to talk about their experience at Hoboken High School, and to answer questions posed by Elysian parents.
One of the invited guests was the Hoboken High School Junior, 16 year-old Hannah. Poor Hannah has been through a lot; she got eaten by an alien plant in HHS' production of "Little Shop of Horrors," and has contributed to this blog.
I first came to know Hannah after hearing her impassioned words at the June 30, 2015 BoE meeting; imagine the moxie of a 15 year-old kid to stand up and speak to adults at a government meeting.
So, I invited Hannah to write about the Elysian "Meet and Greet". She called it "Night at Elysian." I ask you to be respectful to her in your comments. I invited her mom to give her perspective, too. Nothing's been edited.
|Hannah (blond wig, center) before she became plant food|
Night of Elysian
Last week I was invited to a meet and greet at Elysian to represent the high school and pretty much removed negative feelings that were left in a few parents and turned them into positive feelings.
The night went pretty well and there were many questions, but in the back of my mind I was waiting for those dreaded questions. “How’s the environment?” “How hard was it to make friends?” “Do you feel like you're being challenged enough?” “Are your guidance counselors limiting your options because they’d rather focus on other things?” These were the dreaded questions…. but we all kept our heads high and answered each and every one with pride and respect that I'm sure many parents were surprised about.
A lot of people are surprised when they see kids proud of being a student at Hoboken High School. It may not seem like it to all of you but we all care about our high school.
I’ve been with my friends to Board of Ed meetings, we’ve gone up and spoken about our school and what we see needed in our eyes. I never imagined my voice being able to change something, but because of my voice, the High School now has receptacles in every girl's bathroom stall, and a color guard team. The list goes on for what students can accomplish- like having a boys volleyball team entering its 2nd season in the winter, and a running Hydroponics and Aquaponics lab.
So when the night ended with “Do you feel like you’re missing out on anything because you attend Hoboken High?” I stopped and thought if I needed anything we didn’t have. I can easily ask for it and it would go under consideration. Last year my friends from High Tech would gloat about their fancy 3D printers and I though “I wish we had those”. A year later Hoboken High now has 3D printers. So overall my answer is no. I don’t think I'm missing out. I think I’m right where I’m supposed to be, And that's being a student at Hoboken High School.
During this election I really hope we think about who we want to run our kids education. Do we really want someone who's never stepped foot in the high school, who's never felt the pride in my school like many student athletes, thespians, and artists dictating our kids education?
I certainly don't, So let's keep in mind who these nominees are. Character is not just what they have written down on paper.
I had mixed feelings about going to Elysian Charter to speak with parents of 6th, 7th and 8th graders about our experience at Hoboken High School.
I'm asked about the HS at least once a day and I have found myself getting more sarcastic and snarky in my responses. The majority of people asking me questions have never been in the high school and have based their knowledge about it from rumors and lies.
But at Elysian that night, almost every parent there had been inside the school, had done some research and had heard of the new programs being implemented so I was able to put my guard down a bit. The 5 former Elysian students on the panel answered every question with respect and honesty and clearly expressed their love of the school. It was refreshing and powerful to watch.
It was encouraging to me that parents at Elysian Charter were taking the time to learn more about Hoboken High School from students that attend. Granted there were a few questions that were naive in nature but parents seemed to be open to having their information corrected. I would never send my child to a school where I didn't feel she was safe, supported and happy.
The biggest problem we have at Hoboken High is the amount of time people invest in bashing it. If you don't want to send your kid there, what good are you doing by speaking negatively about it?