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Introducing: Living as Laurel

Public School Bliss: Life as a Sequoia High School Student

Editor's Note: Laurel Dearborn is a student at and will be writing a weekly column. She feels so passionate about the incredible opportunities Sequoia High School offers her that she wanted to share her thoughts and experiences with Patch readers.

I go to Sequoia, a public high school. During any lunch, one can simply look around and spot the jocks, the nerds, and the fashion gurus. The ones that can’t wait to go to college and the ones that never will.

But there aren’t any cliques.

From the moment I walked onto campus freshman year, I knew something was different. Upperclassmen held the door for me. People I had never met before smiled and said hello. It was a little creepy; I’m not going to lie. It felt a little bit like an episode from The Twilight Zone, an alternate universe where everyone wanted to be your friend. I took a double take. Was I in the right place? There was no way this could be a public school.

But it is.

Sure, everyone has their good friends that they eat with every day, but that doesn’t limit whom one can talk too. Drama and other friendship dilemmas don’t impact the learning environment. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing designer brand jeans or sporting the T-shirt from last weekend’s robot competition, everyone is welcome.

Okay, not every day is happy go lucky. That would be insane. Two out of three of us would much rather have hit the snooze alarm in the morning, but still, as long as we all are stuck at school on a Monday morning, at least we are stuck in it together.

I talk to my friends from middle school and we exchange high school stories. Very little of them are having a similar experience. True, our classrooms are a little crowded. Yes, . But money can’t shape a class or bring people together. It can’t force students to be nice to each other. That takes character.

But when incoming students shadow me one of the first things out of their mouths is not whether I love the people, it’s whether or not I feel safe. Yes. I feel safe. Sequoia got a bad rep a couple of years ago when it was .

I have never felt threatened, unsafe, or scared during my time at Sequoia. Ever. In fact, it is one of the places where I feel most secure. There may have been a couple fights, but I’ve never seen one or heard about them. Officer Gomez keeps everyone under control and our administration ensures that everyone is in a place where they can concentrate on learning, not security.

I walk through the halls and can’t imagine being in a better place. The beautiful California weather allows us to spend lunch outside every month of the year. We soak in the sunlight and I realize that I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful high school experience.

But it’s not over yet. I smile as I remember that I still have two more years of this public school bliss.

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Alisa Greene MacAvoy January 30, 2012 at 05:16 PM
What an upbeat story! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
Neva Hutchinson January 30, 2012 at 05:40 PM
What a great idea to have a high school column! It will be interesting to read what Laurel has to say. . . Neva Hutchinson
Lorianna Kastrop January 30, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Congrats to Laurel for sharing her high school experiences with the community. Glad to hear she's enjoying Sequoia and that the kids continue to be accepting and considerate.
Kimberly January 30, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Thank you for sharing! My son is a 7th grader at Clifford, it will be interesting to get a pulse on the school as we get closer to your doors! I hope you will open them for him as well!
Georgia Jack January 30, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Wonderful testimony for our high schools. I would suggest that Laurel's words ring true regardless of which of our high schools a student attends. They all aim for a similar approach and students who seek out and seize the opportunities that each site offers tend to really enjoy their experience. Keep up the good writing, Laurel!
Noah Dearborn January 30, 2012 at 11:59 PM
You rock Wick! Love the first article!!!
John Dearborn January 31, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Well done, daughter of mine! Silly me for ever thinking about pulling you out of the public school system...
S. Beach January 31, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Laurel, you are just what the doctor ordered. Keep on dispensing your words of wisdom. We are very proud of you!
Alice Bollard January 31, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Laurel, I'm sooooo glad to hear of your experience. Being a Sequoia grad, class of 1954, yes, the old days, I'm happy to hear that your experience at my alma mater is every bit as good as it was in the good old days. Alice Ramirez Fresquez Bollard
Laura Whittaker January 31, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Between Laurel and Steve Penna I have to just say Yea! Sequoia and Yea! Redwood City. Good grief get back to reality people.
Mylene Librodo Larsen January 31, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Laurel, wonderfully said. Thank you for sharing. We are looking forward to read your next article. We are proud of you.
Jenni Ingram January 31, 2012 at 06:26 AM
Wow. Can't wait to read more. I'm totally impressed by you & excited to see what God has for you in the future!
Merrily January 31, 2012 at 07:19 AM
And as a grad of '74 - it fills MY heart to hear so many students are loving their time at "My beloved Sequoia"! S-E-Q-U-O-I-A!!!!
Corinne Kason February 01, 2012 at 03:32 AM
I am so happy to hear good things about my Alma Mater. I love Sequoia and you are a bright penny, sharing your world with us. I look forward to reading more!
Stacy Morell February 01, 2012 at 04:09 PM
This column rocks! The teachers talk about this all the time and how lucky our students are to go to such a beautiful, safe and accepting high school. I'm so glad there are students who recognize this and hopefully use this knowledge to get involved in school activities and make it the best experience possible. I look forward to future columns. We all want to hear what you have to say! :)
Rick Hunter February 01, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Laurel, great article about a great school. You rock!

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