And What I Leave Behind

I’ve written two graduation posts so far, but neither of them really included references to my experience at CHS, and more importantly the people I got to know and love. (This was not an oversight on my part. I planned it that way from the beginning. *grin*) So this post, probably my last that’s directly about my own experience at CHS, will try to cover all of the groups that helped me, shaped me, made me me in my last four years.

Seminar: It started with Philip, Roger, and Gautam, and our “Us Board” project. We made “alternate universes” by connecting a pair of boxes with Lego dioramas inside. Our shared bond? Ender’s Game. *grin* Next up: Sol and Jay, my partners for the next project, eventually forming my freshman year lunch group. All sorts of random discussions involved, but really these two were my first solid friends at CHS. Then there was also Melinda and Benqiao and Ashley, who I mention and remember simply because they sat near me and were friendly. I don’t think many people realized how much I wanted friendly back then (including me). Finally, there was Mr. Gnass. A cooler guy there could not have been for Seminar; it was really unique. (Aside: it sounded different from Stimson’s class…easier for one thing.) I wish he had stayed because he would have been my World History teacher…oh well, Mr. Fitz was a good teacher too. Still, thanks, Mr. Gnass.

Tino-Net and Jongmin, who I didn’t know was a genius until the year after he left. All I knew is that the group was made up of computer nerds like me, and they were willing to let a very fresh freshman completely blow a Java tutorial. (Heh.)

My Romeo & Juliet group and Mrs. Conrad. This was the high point of my lit class, but the whole class was a lot cooler than other people’s because of Mrs. Conrad’s nifty drama take on everything. (She got me into Tino-Net, indirectly, BTW.) I especially liked how in this skit we practiced the fight choreography and the lines just sort of came in between. Vicky, Alice, Jonathan, me. I still have the award from Mrs. Conrad for Best Interpretation (we all got one); it says “Too bad you’re smarter than I am.” *grin*

The て Companions of Japanese 2. Phill, Waigi, Patrick, and me…and Seiku! Although it started a bit in freshman year, we really formed a group when I was a sophomore. And for those of us who kept going (sorry Phill) the group kept going too, with any projects we could get ahold of. I also want to mention Fan-sensei. Most of my class seemed to think she was some kind of super-strict おに, but I actually really liked her and her, well, arrogant teaching style. Mmhmm, a shout (日本語で) out to Fan-sensei, and I was sorry she had to go. (Though I suppose getting married is not a bad reason to leave. *raises eyebrows*)

Kevin and Sol – the three of us were a good group for much of the year, taking turns owning each other at Chinese chess as well as “regular” chess.

The Poker Players of the Lit Wing, for want of a better name, allowed me to join a group for real. Conveniently, most of them were also in my sixth period P.E. class. The group, especially Waigi, Junji, David, and Ted, plus Raul in P.E., ended up being my mainstay throughout the year, my identity. They had a lot to do with me becoming more social, I think, since before I wouldn’t have classified myself as being like any of them. It’s a good thing.

Chem. Honors, again especially Waigi and Ted. The class was quite awesome, with flame tests and lab demos, and I even got to like the chemical information. (WHAT?) Of course, there was also Mrs. Uji, who I know made the class most of what it was. Thanks to her, everything was fun and worth it. P.S. I actually blew up a beaker one day in class, and Ted immediately immortalized it. “Hey, Jordy,” he’d say after that, “…Boom.”

And the bright beginnings of a group then called Hitori-Go

Mr. Ferrante for CompSci, and for Tino-Net, and for JETS too I suppose. Mr. Ferrante is one of the teachers most like me, and I enjoyed occasionally being ahead of him in his first year of CompSci. I hope for his sake the class continues, and that he’ll someday be able to teach a Photography class as well. His photos are awesome.

Bio AP. Ug, lots of work, but once again Mrs. Uji and varyingly interesting subject matter kept me going. This class, though, I want to point out my pseudogroup with Ram, Eric, and Benqiao. Eric and Benqiao’s sparring was always interesting, and Ram was a solid partner even though I hadn’t seen him since Seminar. Oh, and the DNA analysis lab, supposedly the hardest, was the one that worked for me…and pretty much the only one. Heh, the flies…

Calc BC. I was still out of my depth–socially–in a table with Yu-Xuan, Alex, and Kevin. But I was glad to be with people who thought pretty well, in a class with interesting subject matter. (Derivatives and integrals make *everything* make so much sense, once you get them.) And Mr. St. John was a great teacher as well.

Japanese 3 (and 4). Add Li and Ryan to my group, and bring Scott, Patricia, Jennifer, Michelle W., Kevin N., and Huy along for the ride. The 三年生 made an interesting group that kept on going (all the way to the JLPT for most of us.) Kawano-sensei, while not strict enough in my opinion, was/is still a very cool teacher. And I remember our gum project…counting all of the gum stuck under every desk in the school. …Heh.

Mr. Rosado who made my least favorite subject, History, cool. Enough said.

CAPPELLA. My first year of choir…was amazing. This is the group that “nearest to my heart”, nearly every single person. We had our quirks, our problems, our successes, our laughter, our awesome performances, and, of course, Mr. Aron and Dr. Sterk. I’m going to single out a few people that specifically were awesome and are not mentioned elsewhere: Cindy, our choreographer for Grease. David, who added to my spirit even though he took my chance at a solo (just kidding David). Justin, whose attitude kept the choir laughing and whose tenor voice made him an alto even before Alex started singing for real. Again, though, it was everyone together that made this group so great. (Note: on my choir tryout form I wrote “I want to be in Cappella because that’s where my friends will be.” It worked. Thanks for making me try out, Kevin.) The whole thing is thanks, again, to Mr. Aron.

Am Lit Honors, 7th Period. In a tiny class of under 20 people, our class had a lot of fun even with the less interesting books. (And when we got into it…wow!) Once again I got to partner with Sol during class, and with Sean, Janet, and Ashley S. for our big debate. “Diego Rrrrrodriguez, mang!” Mrs. Merrick, of course, was a great teacher who understood the seventh period slump and (for the most part) kept us out of it.

Ancora. We finally settled down as a group: Ken, Kevin, Li, Jeremy, me, and Patrick. We only got two songs done, but the time we spent was among the best. Our guest alto-sopranos, Philicia, Alice, and Sarah H., were also great singers and friends in our group. (Although it’s really hard to get nine people to practice together.) We had our ups and downs, but I’m glad we went through with it, and I’d talk or sing with any one of these people, any day.

Speech (and Debate). First year of activities! From Kushal-Gordon-Richard to Flora-Persia-Ivy, including Jin, Caroline, Diane, Andrew, Edward, Elaine, and Christine in the middle, this was a crazy two years of fun that only tangentially included actual Speech. I’d put this down into my identity after choir, especially in junior year: for an hour or two I’d just be one of the…sophomores. Mostly. (“What college did you get into? We skipped tennis to find out!”) I care about these people as much as my choir friends, and I’m glad I got the chance to random with them after school and at tournaments. (Remember staying late in the room with the blackboards at SCU II? When we were entered as Hyphy Independent?) And of course, it wouldn’t have been complete (though we made fun of them a lot) without our teachers: Daniel, Larry, Liz, Sridhar, Daisy, Stephanie, and especially Gary and Melinda. I wouldn’t have gotten to see Gary and Melinda much (well, Gary ended up in 4AP, but…) but this way we all ended up one large, dysfunctional Speech family. And Debate.

The New Tino-Net. Being an admin is not fun, but a few people made it better than it would have otherwise been: David, Richard N., Iain, Anthony, and Yanping…and our generous awesome advisor, Mrs. Accorinti. I release Tino-Net into the hands of the new juniors now; it’s not what it started out as, but it’s still something.

Econ (not Gov). Thanks to Mr. A, and Keith who I haven’t seen in years, it was a very interesting class. I found out I actually like economics, not necessarily the stuff we did from the book but the ideas behind it.

Physics H. I was bored, really. Pretty much the whole time. But I will remember the roller coaster and song projects with George and Mary, and the randomness therein. And I credit Mr. Goes and Ms. Chew for keeping it from being totally brain-numbing.

English 4AP. This is the big one for this year. Although I’d had Mrs. Stebbins before, it wasn’t until this year that I really got to know her particular brand of genius…and penchant for shoes. *grin* That aside, our 16.5-person group, from our first “Bluest Eye” movie to the AP test, really kept my academic life, and my intellectual mind, alive and alert. It was my best academic class, probably in all of high school. I feel closest to Alice, Vicky, and Yining, but the rest of the class, Diya, Sandy, Gary, Joseph, Lynn, Ricardo, Eric, Sridhar, Jonathan, Catherine S., Stephanie, Mindy, and Chris, are just as much as part of all this as the first people. And the class certainly wouldn’t be the same without Mrs. Stebbins; I’m glad for her sake and for the students of next year’s class that she’s staying a teacher.

Writer’s Guild. It was fun. Thanks, Vicky and Alice, for getting me into it.

Cappella (again). It was a different year, a different group. I feel bad because with this many people we ended up more in cliques, and it was less fun. But I still have a connection to a lot of people: all the basses (Daniel, Daniel, Jay, Kevin, Kevin, Jeremy, Matt), Hsin, Li, Christina, Rae Dawn. And Ashley, the choreographer and leader of the choir in name and spirit. But again, it was the collective will of the whole group that made it what it was, and I am still sooo glad I did it. Choir was my life again this year, and I’m glad. (AND there was the NYC trip. *grin*) Thanks, again, Mr. Aron, for two great years that I could have missed without ever knowing it.

Calculus D. Stephanie’s idea comes to fruition, and Tina, Mary, and I join her to probe the mysteries of double integrals and partial differentiation (not in that order). The thanks here really go to Mr. St. John, who came in on his own time to teach us math that we’ll probably have to relearn in college. Really, though, it was fun and educational. I should mention Eric, Aris, and Rayjo, who supported us despite not coming to learn all year.

Choir Room たち. The group changed from junior year to senior year, but these were the people I hung out with nearly every day. Some were weird, some were perverted (many both), some were singers, some were poker players. It was a weird amalgamated group and I’m glad it was possible. I’m only going to name three people here because they had the biggest effect on me personally and were my closest friends who don’t fit in another category: Sarah F. in junior year, the resident RENT-head who wasn’t afraid to join us at the end of the year. Eiko, the freshman (now junior !) who showed up one day (with Li, I think?) and brightened the group, individually and together, for the next two years. And Shane, who started out as my bothersome tutee and ended up a great verbal sparring partner, thought provoker, and friend. Thanks to these three, and to everyone in the group.

The Nerd Herd. I may have joined a year late, but that’s the way with most of my groups. Intellectual randomness from Stephanie, Yining, Jonathan, Sridhar, Catherine, Trisha, and Eunice. “Thanks for letting me be a wildebeast.”

Guys and Dolls: the weird blip in my life where, for a month or two, I got to be a Drama geek. Mrs. Conrad inspires that, I guess, and Ms. Headley and Ms. Barczi weren’t bad either. *grin* The actors (true drama and newcomers alike) were awesome, and we really got to be like a family again, especially after we’d been practicing for four, five hours in a row. It was crazy hard work (I really lucked out with my other work), but once it was going I didn’t want it to end. One last amazing journey from miserable to musical. I’m not going to name anybody because I really felt close to nearly everyone by the time the play was over. Just remember our version of “Sit Down…I’m Jacking the Boat”. (This is what you miss when you aren’t in Drama. *grin*)

Ancora. I had to finish with the group I know and love, and helped run from Kevin’s right hand (he’s left-handed). Alex and Daniel (and James for a while) joined Ken, Kevin, and me to do FIVE songs, and thanks to David S. (master sound guy) we’re going to have actual good recordings of four of them. This is also the place to mention Mimi, Kevin’s girlfriend but more importantly the first one to fit into our group. (She’s the only one I can trade macho intellectual jokes with.) Anyway, the group may have even been tighter than last year, and from its origins in last year’s Ancora and Alex’s MetraFour, it came out a winner in chest, head, leg, and hair voice…and of course, good old classic harmony.

That’s nearly everyone, but it sounds kinda bland now…not specific enough to every person. It’s the moments that we shared that count. Remember…remember…*rolls up in a ball of clouds like Mufasa*…oh, wait…

My story at CHS is done (although I think I’ve left an impression *grin*; we’ll see how that works out). Good luck to all of my friends, in all grades, groups, and activities. Without you I would not be the person I am today. And I like who I am today.

So keep up Speech. Keep up Choir, Drama. Take English 4AP. And remember, with a pitchpipe, an opening line, a laptop, or even just two minutes to prepare, you can do something amazing.

There’s a change in my life, since you came along.