STUDENTS | April 5, 2021
Females can do anything they put their minds to. That’s how Curie High School freshman Divine H. described her decision to take AP Computer Science Principles this year. While a challenging course, she says having a teacher who has “great energy and a great mood” has made a big difference in helping her enjoy the class. Now, the opportunity to learn at school is the only thing that is missing.
“I am getting tired of being in the house by myself and there is a lot of work stacked on, especially me as a freshman,” she said. “And I think I can do a little bit better in person than online.”
Fellow freshman Lanayah V. also thinks that being back at Curie would make a difference academically. As the oldest of six, she’s had to balance her schoolwork with helping and being a good example for her siblings.
“With your siblings, it was important for me to show them that they don’t have to follow anybody and can be themselves,” she said. “My sister went through a period where she thought nobody liked her, and I told her that you can just be you and let people come to you.”
Lanayah has given herself that same advice, and it has helped her see school as a place where she is frequently laughing and enjoying herself with peers who understand where she’s coming from. She’s already been back at Curie for volleyball tryouts, which she thinks have been going well, and has an idea for another extracurricular that could bring the student body together.
“It would be cool to have a club that connects all the students, because not everybody plays sports and not everybody plays video games,” she said. “It could be a Get to Know You Club where you sit down and talk with other students during your free time.”
While Divine hopes that the rest of her high school experience can be fun—she is also considering playing volleyball—she ultimately sees academics as being the key to the rest of her life. She will remember her freshman year as the year that helped her stay grounded, and now she is determining her goals and the strategies that will help her reach them.
“I definitely want to get on the honor roll, pass, and continue to learn more so that when I’m a senior I can know that I made it,” she said. “I know that I’ll understand what my teachers are teaching but will need their help, especially in person.”
Lanayah has also been reflecting on her freshman year to help her plan for the future. She’s enjoyed all of her classes this year but thinks procrastination and the limitations of learning on a screen have been her Achilles’ heel. Recently, in her English class, she had trouble figuring out how to complete an outline since her teacher had to use Google Docs rather than a whiteboard to explain the assignment.
She also notes that she’ll often wait until the last minute to complete her work, especially for assignments that aren’t due right away. Moving forward, she has a plan to help her break that habit.
“Creating a schedule for myself is going to be very important moving forward because it will help me plan out doing my work and also fitting in time with my family,” she said. “When you have a schedule, it’s a way of making sure you stay on track.”
In addition to developing these strategies, both Divine and Lanayah know the importance of having adults they can rely on. For Divine, this has been mainly her teachers over the past year, and Lanayah says her parents have continually reminded her that she can keep achieving despite the challenges.
When she’s able to return to Curie, Lanayah knows who will be able to make a difference for her.
“I know I’ll need a counselor because even when I’m doing well in the classroom, I’ll always need someone to talk to,” she said. “You need someone who can help ease the stress and take the weight off your chest.”