Each year, there’s that golden moment, when freshmen and seniors alike gaze out into the Samohi tennis courts, eyeing the construction of our beloved grad night “ocean liner.” The huge ship, rebuilt anually for each class of seniors, serves as the archway to Grad Night, an all-night party staged by parents and the school for graduating seniors.
On Monday, the ship is just a heap of wooden panels, indistinguishable from the rubble that usually surrounds the nearby dumpsters. But, as the days go by, it slowly comes together, and, with each new bolt, nail or stroke of paint, we seniors gauge the dwindling time we have left, knowing that when the ship is done, it will transport all 850 of us out into the real world.
Some seniors look forward to the completion of the ship, ready to leave this “hell hole” or “torturous inferno,” but the majority of us appear terribly frightened at the prospect of leaving a school that, minus Redesign, tardy sweeps, and I.D. checks, hasn’t been all that bad.
In truth, Samohi is a top-notch school, and though I’ve definitely had my share of red-tape these past few years, I have to say that struggling through the long lines, unsanitary bathrooms and poorly funded events has prepared me to face the world that lies beyond the campus gate.
Don’t get me wrong, it’d be nice to have the “small school experience”— a counselor who actually knows my name or even a personalized, powder blue nametag on my locker. Yet, in the long run, I have to believe that sticking it out these past few years has made me stronger. Let’s just say that when we venture off to college, the Samohi kids won’t be the ones calling home to mommy complaining about the bacteria-infested bathrooms. I mean, once you’ve seen the history building bathrooms, you’ve seen it all.
We can’t talk about Samohi without mentioning our lovable administrators, the ones you know you’re going to miss regardless of how many detentions they gave you. Don’t get me wrong, I know that our class has been through a lot with the administration, namely Redesign (breaking up the school into six smaller “houses”). But, did you ever stop to think why the administration spends so much time and energy on new programs and policies? I mean, wouldn’t it be easier for them if they just sat back and did nothing?
I like to think it’s because they actually care about us. Sure, they might strike out occasionally, but the fact that the administration is actively re-evaluating Samo year-to-year means that soon enough, something is going to change for the better. In truth, even with all of the administration/student tension, Samo still offers us one of the best educations in the state.
According to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Samo ranks eighth state-wide based on its 2004 API (Academic Performance Index).
Samo’s size and diversity have also given us students the freedom and opportunity to be who we want to be, a privelege that is vital, during these all too awkward teenage years. Througout high school, I chose to be a journalist, volunteer, and sports fan. My friends chose to be musicians, athletes, artists, actors, even chefs. The sheer volume of activities that the school makes available to us is reason alone to be grateful; they have made up part of who we are today, and part of who we will strive to be in the future. And hey, the lenient dress code is also pretty nice. If someone, for example, felt an urgent need to wear leopard leggings over a neon-pink cat-suit, no one would stop her. Also, because there are so many types of people on campus, there is less pressure to conform. If you don’t fit in with a certain group, find another one! That’s the beauty of going to our school.
I realize that the picture that I’ve just painted of Samo isn’t exactly the oppressive, “big brother” hell some seniors may have experienced these four years. All I’m saying is that, in total, I think the seniors can all agree that it’s been a fun time, and hopefully even more than that. Admit it or not, we’ve made good friends here, learned about life, and, most importantly, learned about ourselves.
To the class of 2005: I hope that you never forget or underestimate your high school experience, from that first freshman day when you actually believed that the seniors threw newcomers into trash cans, to Grad Night, where we can all hopefully count on that wooden ship to help us explore the new horizons that await us.Sonia Sohaili has been a Mirror contributing writer for several years.