Thank You Chamblee

Yammile Garcia

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I remember sitting in my literature class. It was a normal day just like every other day, students doing their work, others complaining about it and teachers from all over the building going on with their lesson plans. It was something that I had gotten used to: the students, the teachers and the entire school as a whole. Like every other good thing in life, good moments like those aren’t meant to last and little did I know that moment would soon burst, too. My teacher walked in with a face that I couldn’t quite read. She grabbed our attention and gave us news that I wasn’t so pleased with. The school district had made up its mind about the Cross Keys cluster school redistricting. This was a matter that had been going for several months. I knew that overcrowding at schools was a major problem. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be affected by it, but I was far from right in this case. The county had decided that as of the 2016-2017 school year several students we would be redistricted from Cross Keys High School to Chamblee Charter High School.

I had grown up with everyone at Cross Keys, from elementary to high school. In a sense, we were all like a big family, we had all seen each other at the worst and best. These were the people that I was supposed to strive with in high school and graduate with come May 2019. The idea of leaving everyone and the school made me nervous and scared. Multiple students – even teachers – told me that I should view this as an opportunity. Many people believed that Cross Keys was a school that did not provide the best to the students. In some aspects I would see what people would mean by that, but doesn’t every school have its own flaws?

The first day at Chamblee is kind of a blur now. I remember arriving and immediately I picked up several things that differed from Cross Keys. For starters it was significantly bigger, the inside seemed way brighter than Cross Keys, and the school was more diverse. At Cross Keys, every turn you would take, you would mostly see Hispanics and Latinos, which was honestly not a problem because I was surrounded by my people. The number of students and the diversity of CCHS definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was more of a shy person, but once I got used to a group of people I was the complete opposite. It was hard to connect with some of my new peers. I remember the seniors being very helpful and trying to guide the new students, along with myself, through the halls and the layout of the schedule.

It took me a while to adjust to my new surroundings. I wasn’t glad or disappointed to be here, it was a mutual feeling. There were still several things that I missed from Cross Keys. Over there we went by a block schedule. The classes were much longer which allowed the teacher to ensure that each student understood the lesson. At Chamblee it felt as if each class period was rushed due to the 55-minute class periods. I must admit though that Chamblee offers more extracurricular activities than Cross Keys does. It was something great, it gave the opportunity to become more involved with the school and meet new faces as well.

I remember several students returning to Cross Keys because they didn’t like the school or they felt as if they didn’t belong here. I wish I could’ve had the option to leave as well, but I had no choice but to remain at Chamlee. I managed to survive my sophomore year. As my junior year rolled in, I found myself showing more school spirit and being more outgoing with my peers around. It felt nice to feel like I finally fit within the crowds of students. When I entered my senior year though, something snapped. I found myself becoming quieter. I didn’t feel like interacting with the students around me. For some odd reason I didn’t feel right being there. Maybe it was because I kept seeing my former Cross Keys peers doing all the things that I had planned to do with them come senior year, or maybe it was just because I was eager to leave Chamblee and go out into the real world.

People always ask me what school I prefer the most. To be completely honest, I would have to say neither. I only attended Cross Keys my freshman year and it was a blast but for all I know I could’ve gotten the same wave of emotions or even worse from the once I received at Chamblee. I will say it has been nice to see Cross Keys grow, although I may no longer be there I see the changes through social media. They have a variety of new classes and clubs to offer and the students seem more connected with the community. As for Chamblee, it took me a while to get adjusted but I eventually grew to love it.

The truth is, I feel like I don’t belong in either one, no matter how many peers I connected with I just didn’t feel at home. I do, however, give Chamblee the credit for not just my mental growth but as well as my growth to becoming a better person. Chamblee opened many doors of opportunities for me. I got to join new clubs that I never thought existed, I got a wave of emotions that shaped me into the person I am now, I met some of the most amazing teachers along the way and established close friendships that I hope last.

Thank you, Chamblee, not just for introducing me to new people and preparing me for what’s to come, but for making high school an amazing ride and I hope that the outside world has just as much or even more to offer.