By Jake Kim
For a few years I have watched Oakland High slowly decline. Students seem to not care anymore. I know because I have been observing how students have been interacting.
When I first came into Oakland High School as a freshman I was excited, everything seemed new and the students were nice. I would ask anybody on my first day and they would show me around to my classes. I made friends quickly and got along well with teachers.
During my freshman year it was simple. I would walk around the whole school during lunch on certain days and just feel the nice warm sunny rays along with a nice cool breeze. It would be quiet and mellow. Sure, there would be a few fights here and there but it wasn’t often. There were no weapons on campus, barely any drugs, and nobody having sex on school property.
Students seemed motivated to graduate and do their own things. Plenty of the seniors I knew were dedicated to their work compared to seniors my senior year. I went to a different school sophomore year but when I came back I noticed Oakland High seemed different. I visited a few times to Oakland High during sophomore year but the decline was almost unnoticeable.
When I returned to OHS during my junior year thats when I could really tell the difference in attitude and behavior of the school’s students. I walk around at lunchtime now and see people fighting more often or selling drugs to other students. I watched as other students threatening another student with a Taser on school campus after school.
The school I onced loved during my freshman year had now changed, along with the students who attended it. Teachers seemed busy or unable to teach due to students getting in fights or constantly interrupting class just for kicks. It had gotten to the point where I didn’t learn anything, so I made a choice to join an academy.
I never thought about joining an academy until senior year because my classes were just unbearable and I disliked the students in them. I was glad I had friends in those classes or I wouldn’t know what to do. From the loud, intentional gum-popping, to the constant talking and yelling over the teacher, to the passing weed in class, or even playing with weapons that teachers didn’t seem to notice.
I couldn’t say I was safe in my classes or on campus in general. I would be afraid to step on somebody’s shoe because if I did I would get jumped or attacked by the person because their shoe was more valuable than my apologies,
Last year a security guard beat up a guy in a wheelchair so almost nothing could get more surprising than that. Also last year, an OHS student set another school’s student’s skirt aflame when the other student was sleeping on the bus. Even during summer school which was held at Oakland High School this year, some students estimated that over half of the summer-school students were were kicked out of the program for doing drugs or getting into fights. I watched as the numbers during lunch slowly dwindled to people who actually cared about their academics.
I see people smoking their joints or talking about new drama. I see cars race up and down chasing each other at 60 miles per hour near ampm over something I don’t know about. I see cops at my school almost every day. I see people standing at the end of school even when the bell for first period rings signaling students to get to class but they don’t seem to care anymore.
I see and hear about lots of my friends or other students getting pregnant and dropping out out of school. I hear my friend telling me that I’m lucky I took the bus early because they heard there might be a drive by. I see cops coming to Oakland High to stop fights from happening and gangs from starting wars against each other. I see no hope in students’ eyes, as much as I would like to see it. I see students during lunch blasting music in the hallways, dancing, and screaming at the top of their lungs as they sexualize themselves to fit in with the thing we call society nowadays.
I don’t see people talking about their dreams as much anymore. I hear them talking about the newest Jordans coming out, how they’re about to get more drugs, how they will beat somebody up, and how they will dress the next day.
I hear about all these materialistic things, drama, and dating when they shouldn’t be worrying about that. They have a lifetime to worry about getting a boyfriend or girlfriend. They shouldn’t worry about the newest trends or game. They should worry about getting an education and making it to the top or the best of their abilities. They should be more aware of how they’re acting and how it affects other people, not how they dress or how to fit in and be somebody they’re not.
I talk with my friends sometimes about this subject and we all feel that once the class of 2015 leaves, Oakland High will slowly decline in academics and people who care. People who have talents and abilities to succeed get washed away by people judging them or being afraid to show that they’re different.
Students shouldn’t have to struggle later in life because of poor choices they make during high school. They should start caring more about graduating and getting their education and maybe, just maybe the school might become a better place and the students’ attitude and behavior will improve. When I come back to OHS, I want to see people aim for success and not the struggles of stress.