Last Words from our Seniors: Not a Normal Kid at a Normal School

May 9, 2017


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As we say goodbye to the Class of 2017, The Catalyst reached out to some of the graduates, asking them to share their stories and give advice to new and returning scholars. First up, is senior Elijah Ortiz y Pino.

Read Sofia Lamberto’s here.

Summers are amazing, aren’t they? I never thought I’d appreciate a summer like I did in high school. Though days were long, and a lot of times pointless, I realized at least one day I would have my diploma. My high school years were like none other in my life. I have changed tremendously from the daily interactions of high school.

I was almost immediately intimidated by the first semester of my freshman year. At the time I was going to Rio Rancho High school with low grades and hoping for something amazing to happen to me; I soon realized public school was really what made me feel like my days were pointless. My mom and I decided that I was going to have to transfer schools if I really wanted to make anything happen for me. On January 7, 2014, I  transferred schools to a charter school in Albuquerque called The Public Academy for the Performing Arts. I really enjoyed school there because at the time my passions were acting and theater. After the second semester of being at PAPA, it was just too hard on me to make two daily trips, 25 miles each way. It was not the way to go, even though I loved that school dearly.

During that summer we spent some time looking for schools. I was a little worried at one point that I was going to have to go back to Rio. One afternoon, we were driving through Corrales and happened to pass The ASK Academy. We stopped and checked it out, and though no one was there, just by looking at it I thought it was some dumb school. After  finding out more about what The ASK Academy was all about, I was all in.

The beginning of sophomore year at The ASK Academy was probably the best year of high school. I made really close friends, my grades were better than they had ever been and I was truly happy to be there. Sophomore year went by really fast and I was impressed with the school. I ended up going there junior year as well. There isn’t much to say about junior year except that some friendships were weaker than I thought. I began to explore like any other high school student would. Of course, that ended up getting me in more trouble that year than ever before.

By the end of junior year, I thought I may as well try again with public school. I’m all about change, but this kind of change was one I’ll never forget. I transferred to Rio the first week of my senior year. I did this mostly because I thought it was going to be a breeze and I’d only have four classes rather than the six classes I was taking ASK .  I thought it was a great idea; I’d have early release, I could reunite with some of my old friends, and I’ll look like a normal kid graduating from public school. Boy, was I all wrong. My senior year at Rio Rancho was horrible. I got in trouble more times than I would have liked and I was one big depressed loner.

After the first few weeks, I knew right away I was going to miss The ASK Academy.  When I switched schools, ASK had said I couldn’t return because it was a policy with seniors. Luckily after the first semester, I was able to work something out, and just like that, The ASK Academy accepted me back in for the last semester of my high school career. It all worked out, and here I am now proudly graduating from The ASK Academy, knowing damn well I don’t ever want to be a “normal kid” in a “normal school”.

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  1. Last Words from our Seniors: Nothing like High School Musical | ASK Catalyst - May 10, 2017

    […] Read Elijah Ortiz u Pino’s here. […]

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