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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Toxic rank environment needs to end

Photo Credit: Jaden Espiritu
Listing some of the classes a senior can take, student Jaden Espiritu presents his senior class schedule. The schedule is filled with many AP and duel enrollment courses.

Colonia High School students are being limited to what classes they can take. Teachers and guidance counselors believe that the level course a student takes can affect their education. 

Guidance counselors and teachers expectations

I myself have taken many AP courses and dual enrollment courses during my time at Colonia High School. My guidance counselor had spoken to me about my career path and my education past high school. Since I was a kid, I had thrived to become a doctor of some sort. They had told me that I should challenge myself and get my class rank high. I had reached rank 34/320 at the end of my junior year. The journey to achieve this was hard however. Countless all-nighters were spent, and my social life was mostly gone. I wanted to take easier classes my senior year due to this.

I wanted to take the cooking class offered at my school. The class was offered at a lower ranked class compared to other classes offered however. My guidance counselor discouraged me from taking this course as it would affect my class rank and what colleges and universities may think. Being able to cook is an essential skill that all students should have.  I also could not take the graphic novel class that my school offers to other students. All forms of literature can be thought-provoking. 

Advanced courses prepare high school students

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Taking an advanced class does pose its benefits to students. For one, it challenges many students to push themselves to study more. AP classes are college level topics alongside fast paced, so the course helps students prepare for their future if they decide to pursue further education. It develops good study habits for students alongside discipline them to work on their own personal schedule. AP and dual credit classes offer students the opportunity to earn college credits. The credits earned could help students save money when in a university or college.

Being in the same setting and environment

Being in an AP setting allows other students to face the same challenges as each other. Senior Tess Powell has stated that, “At times, I am in an environment where students are also going through the same issues and course work. An example would be doing an essay, and knowing they might be struggling the same as you are. If I haven’t started the essay, there’s someone else who didn’t start it either which gives a sense of comfort.” The environment overall is filled with students who care about their education and are willing to put the work in. 

Stressful workload  

Students who take advanced courses are offered more challenges compared to a student who takes regular classes. Advanced courses can be overwhelming sometimes for students due to the college work being presented. For students who take multiple advanced courses, the workload could be overwhelming at times. Students often have to make the choice on whether or not they have to sacrifice their social life. Powell has stated that, “R track is more laid back, social, less challenging, and it lets you breathe. AP is a more challenging environment however.” Students when making their schedule must decide if they want to relax more or challenge themselves in a rigorous environment. 

Toxic environment

The environment of being in an advanced class also could be toxic for students. Student Sophia Fernandez expressed her feelings about being in the environment. Fernandez has explained that some students in the environment had “Very little social awareness. They have little to no social cues, and they are self centered.” Fernandez explains that AP students would enforce the environment and to compare each other constantly. Students would often pressure other students to take harder classes to be more competitive with each other.

Removing rank

I believe that not showing rank until graduation or until a senior applies for college. This would help lessen the toxic environment in classrooms. At some school districts, rank is not shown until graduation. Removing rank as a whole would help students feel better about themselves. There would be no sense of competitiveness with students. Removing rank would also allow students to focus more on themselves. This is due to the fact that students would not care about others’ rank other than their own. The sense of not knowing one’s rank allows them to think that there is always room for improvement. 

Creating a better space for learning

I want students to encourage each other as a whole when it comes to academics. Students should be praising each other for the grades they get in a class, no matter what. The appreciation for one studying is sufficient for someone to know. Students would feel better about themselves and also for each other for the appreciation they give. 

Guidance counselors and teachers should let students take whatever class they want to as well. Nothing should stop a student from taking a course they genuinely want to take. Should it ruin a student’s rank, the guidance counselor should let the student know. Guidance counselors, however, should not have the final say when it comes to what a student’s school schedule ultimately looks like.

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About the Contributor
Jaden Espiritu
Jaden Espiritu, Reporter
Jaden Espiritu is a senior at Colonia High School. He is a Filipino American who is involved in many activities in his school physically and mentally. He is a part of the cross country and tennis team. Espiritu is also taking part in numerous AP classes and dual enrollment classes. Out of all the AP classes taken, Espiritu has found AP Biology and the dual enrollment course Anatomy and Physiology the most interesting. He plans on pursuing a pre-med track in college with a major in Bio. Other clubs he is a part of in his high school include Mini-THON where he has raised over $10,000 for pediatric cancer. Espiritu has also been in the school’s marching band for four years where he plays the alto sax. He plans to continue playing his instrument in his lifetime.  In his free time Espiritu loves to travel. Whether it is a small antique store or a historical museum in a different country or state, Espiritu loves the idea of exploring the world. To capture these moments, Espiritu also likes to take pictures anywhere he goes. Espiritu can’t help but capture the moment with his phone or camera. Other hobbies include playing video games and writing about current events. Espiritu is very excited to take journalism and to become a journalist. It fosters his creativity and allows him to advocate for change for the world while at the same time writing about topics he is passionate about. 

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