Internship Reflection Week of 2011-11-07 [11] (Graduation Requirements, SZ Essay)

As part of this weekly reflection please see also the reflection for Monday 11/7

Exhibitions continued today at school, and will continue through the end of next week.  Exhibitions are quarterly accountability tools between a student, their advisor, their parents/guardians, and other staff at the school.  In an Exhibition the student reviews their progress on their Learning Plan which is their overall vision, goals and status of agreed-upon actions being taken toward those goals.  These reviews usually include:

  • a status report on Senior Thesis Projects they are working on (if applicable), and especially any Internship experiences (LTI=Learning Through Interests).
  • an update on their Autobiography, with summary of any new reflections or learnings that has produced
  • a review of their Post High School Plan, especially if that involves college, which is strongly encouraged.  The plan encompasses the steps needed to make that happen:  a reality check on budgets, college-prep courses, entrance exam preparations, trip reports on campus visits, as well as updates on applications in progress versus deadlines.

These three items in particular are requirements for graduation from Big Picture High School.

Attended a few exhibitions today, but I was especially moved by one of them.  In particular, I have asked this student for their permission to share their college application essay which I reproduce below.

“Describe any special circumstances or hurdles that have challenged you personally or academically, and steps you have taken to move beyond those challenges.”

The fabric of my family’s lineage is worn and torn. Every relative I can think of has had children too young, gotten addicted to a substance, or never finished high school. There is a pattern in my family: the moment you abandon school you are on Welfare and Food Stamps. I refuse to follow this pattern. My cousin and I were born in the same month and year; she has dropped out of high school, is addicted to marijuana, and was a miscarriage away from being a teen mom. I am the stitch holding my family’s fabric together. Being in the first generation to attend and graduate from college will fortify this mending.

Some children accept what their past generations of relatives have done as the status quo.  From the moment I was old enough to understand alcoholism, narcotics, and addiction, I wanted none of it. I entered high school with a firm commitment and made it clear to anyone who offered that “I don’t do that stuff.” I have always kept my mind clear to learn and taken everything in the best way I can.

Five years ago I knew living in a motel room with my mother and step-father was not a normal home life, but now we have been there so long it feels like there was never anything else. We grew too comfortable too fast and soon an apartment was far out of reach. I’ve become somewhat comfortable in our small room, but the lack of personal space and privacy still gets to me sometimes. Walking onto the campus of […] University this fall I felt immediately at home. I feel out of place in the urban Seattle area and the campus displayed a natural environment and friendly community. I know my parents try the best they can, but I promised myself I will know the meaning of a home one day.

As soon as I turned sixteen I sought out a job, but found something much better with a paid internship through the Port of Seattle at Sea-Tac International Airport. My first job involved advanced work that is not typically available to high school students. I learned about the inner workings of the airport and gained project management skills.  I developed confidence in my ability to take on projects that required new learning when I was asked to create an Emergency Evacuation Plan draft for the airport’s Security and Driving Training Department. My initial reaction was panic because I knew nothing about evacuation strategies or safety procedures, but I took a moment to strategize my approach and calm down before I began. With a lot of research and creativity I crafted a plan worthy of the Port of Seattle’s use.

Because of this new experience, I was accepted for an internship at Starbucks’ Corporate Headquarters. I worked closely with my mentors to learn accounting software and systems. At seventeen, I was conducting complete vendor reconciliations for the biggest coffee company in the world to insure their major vendors were getting paid on time. Starbucks showed me what it’s like to make a positive difference on a global level and I know the opportunities offered at Western Washington University will allow me to continue applying my learning to the real world.

Now, I am ready to set the pace for a new generation of motivated and educated youth.  I am determined to continue to grow- as a daughter, sister, student, and role model. I am doing everything to let nothing stand in the way of my education.

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  • Jo  On November 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    WOW–VERY IMPRESSIVE. Great writing skills (no misspellings or grammatical errors), great attitude toward future successes; great experiences in the real world. I would very much like to meet this individual and give him/her a big pat on their back.

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