Natalie, High School Student, CA
Natalie is a student at Palo Alto High School (Paly). She was interviewed by her older brother and one of our student Catalysts--Jordan--for the RE-ENVISIONED collective visioning project at Paly in Spring 2017. Check out other #SchoolSpotlight interviews for Paly by searching #PeopleofPaly.
Tell me about yourself? How would your friends describe you?
Loyal, easygoing, nice :)
What are you passionate about and why?
I like to play sports because it is a great way to meet new people and connect with other people and get fit and have fun at the same time. And I like to play guitar.
What are you most excited to do in your life?
Experience new things like new opportunities, see new things all over the world, meet new people, and just like ya...that’s it.
Now, imagine you are all grown up. Let’s say you are in your 30’s. Take three post-its and draw or write on them three central things think would make it a good or successful life?
A family or people that care about me, me doing something that I enjoy to do and am passionate about, and be someone that I am proud to be.
How do you imagine what your parents would answer is similar or different?
I think it would be pretty similar.
Do you think this school would do that for you? Speaking about PALY. Why or why not?
I think in a way it kind of prepares you for life, but at the same time it is kind of preparing you for college and kind of preparing you to get good grades and do well on a test to get you into a school and in a way it is kind of teaching like socially how to put you into bigger life situations, but at the same time not really. It is not really preparing you.
Do you think it is just preparing you for college?
And that's the only reason for school?
No I do not think that's the only reason for school, but I think most of the things you do in school is just preparing you for college.
Who has been your favorite teacher?
Probably Mrs. Bowers because she passionate about what she does, she is a good teacher, and she is always giving life lessons along with her teachings so that's good.
Do you enjoy going to school? Why?
I get to see my friends and at the same time I am learning new things.
What have you learned about that you have enjoyed?
Well in English we learned about the need for human connection and how that is a big part that a lot of people need and how people who don't have human connection will become really desperate and do a lot of things to get that. So then it made me think more about the need for human connection and the people who are left out in school will maybe hang out with a bad crowd just so that they feel important or included even though they might not believe in things that those people do. Let's say someone who doesn't have any friends and just hangs out with people and do bad things because that is the only way they know how to make friends. They are putting themselves in a bad situation because they are desperate for human connection. PALY should be making it easier and better for kids to become better friends with other people.
Do you think there are a lot of cliques at PALY? Why?
Yeah, because people get stuck with the people they enjoy being around but instead of welcoming new people into their groups, they are kind of stuck with own friends and they do not let other people in.
You don't think people are very welcoming?
I think a good amount of people are but I don't think there is enough people that are that makes it welcoming as it could be. Like most of the people I know are but I know people who have been in bad situations.
You still see people eating lunch by themselves and you guys do not sit with them?
Yeah, I mean I am not saying that. I have tried to sit with people that are alone and and they just want to be alone and they are like, “why are you sitting next to me?” and they think it's a pity thing. So it's kind of hard to go up to someone and sit next to them because they may not want you too or they may feel like you are doing it because you feel bad for them.
Do you talk to those people who sit alone?
Sometimes, but not recently.
There are a good amount of people who eat alone.
I don't know I just feel like they should have something else at lunch for people to do. Something for the people who do not socialize with other people. Instead of having them sit alone maybe there is something else that they can provide for those kids. I don't know, play a movie, play a game.
Well that is what the clubs are for.
Ya but those get grouped too.
What do you think school is missing then? Activities for kids to do at lunch time?
Yes. And learning-wise to make it more enjoyable and fun to learn. Instead of, "you need to know this for this test and this for this test." Make it like you actually need to know this for life and connect it to something bigger and more important than the ACT or SAT.