In New York City, there exists a plethora of choices when it comes to selection of High schools. The choices available are specialized, public, private, and zone schools. Specialized schools have a similar structure to Ivy-League colleges. In the ideal sense, attendance at these “Ivy-League” schools guarantees admittance to a top ranked college and prepares the student to succeed in life.
Competition in specialized schools has increased greatly throughout the years as parents continue to push their children to enroll. As a student, this might seem as an ideal situation that promises a prosperous economic future. However, the specialized schools focused primarily on test scores and are huge and impersonal. The financial makeup of the student body was predominantly upper class and lacked ethnic diversity. My parents, never imposed this ideal on to me and therefore, I made the decision to choose a school that would develop a positive personal identity.
Zone schools also lacked the kind of education I was seeking because test taking focused on the three R’s, “Read, Remember, Regurgitate.” Private school was not ever an option, since my family
Is middle class and there were public schools readily available. Since my choices were narrowed down somewhat I had to pick a high school out of about 13 good public high schools high schools all over the city.
I decided to go to a public high school named Urban Academy with a 100 students, with an alternative method to teaching. While some might view traveling an hour to school as an inconvenience, especially when I had a school located four blocks from my house, I chose Urban Academy because it was the school for me.
Urban Academy’s mission was to teach students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and apply it to life situations. It presented different methods of learning and shifted from tests taking to learning from a variety of sources. In history class we were not given textbooks; we were given packets that presented different points of view on the issue we were studying. For example, on the same issue we would get text from different textbooks, the Internet, historical books, literature books, interviews etc. This way we gained a wider perspective on what we were learning. However, unlike the other public schools I visited, Urban Academy had an extensive admission process. It was the only school that required me to: write an essay, visit the school alone, participate in the classes that I visited, visit the school with one of my parents, and take a test, as well as be interviewed.
I choose Urban Academy High School because it was the school was I saw myself developing the most. I did not choose my school because it was an immediate pleasure seeking decision; I had to go through more application procedures at Urban than any other high school. I was also warned that if I went to this school I could not
Expect to go to an Ivy League college because of the fact Urban did not
Believe in class rank, tests, awards, etc. However, I choose Urban because I saw how much I could develop personal growth. Urban provided an environment that was unique. Since it had the ability to choose who attended the school, it decided to make the student body as diverse as possible. There were students from the upper class, middle class, and lower class, from private schools, public schools, and from all parts of the city, as well as diverse ethnic groups.
So the reason I picked my high school was motivated by all different factors. It was motivated by the fact that I was not pressured by my parents, motivated by my experiences in life telling me what I did not want in a high school, and mainly motivated by my belief that the way to build my self identity was to pick the high school that was right for me.
Post a Followup