Lots of guys are voted into student government leadership positions because they’re funny and popular, but they have little intention of working hard once they’re there. Meanwhile, people with more substance who would have worked much harder in the job don’t get elected. If you’re the popular guy who won the election, it’s not your fault that enough of the student body voted for superficial humor over substance. But once you have the job, get off your ass and honor the commitment you signed up for.
By Rainer Wasinger
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or the school system has failed you so bad that someone is reading this to you, you’ve probably heard grim news about American public schools. Longtime Chancellor of New York City Public Schools Joel Klein penned a piece entitled “The Failure of American Schools” and the Huffington Post has an entire category of articles called “Failing Schools.”
So, the experts think there’s a problem. I’m not an expert. Additionally, I’d like to add some qualifiers, because no one student’s experience is alike, and for what it’s worth, mine may have been more out of the ordinary than others. First and foremost, I went to public school in a district that was not only decidedly well off and open to spending generously on education, but was also particularly well suited to draw talented teachers. My hometown is often named one of the most educated cities in the United States, earns high quality of life ratings, and my high school is a two minute walk from an excellent research university. Smart people want to live here and smart teachers want to teach here.
Jessie Bernard, 17
The longer you look at something, the uglier it will get. This is just human nature. We’re accustomed to notice the deterioration of beauty. Cracks in the sidewalk and dilapidated fences are the perfect background for your senior pictures, but if the tables were turned and you were the one who was old and broken and falling apart, you would not be so beautiful.
I bet you thought you were beautiful, too. On some level, maybe physical or figuratively. You probably are, but all the things you love about yourself quickly turn to dust the minute you think of yourself as insignificant.
You see, the only beautiful thing about you that won’t change in twenty years is your mind and your ability to think for yourself. Looks will only get you so far in life, but you’ll be significant if you put your mind to good use.
By Rainer Wasinger