Ty, High School Student, CA

"What I would want from a school would be for them not to kill my creativity. I would want school to expand on the learning and not be so focused on grades, but about the creative process of learning."

Ty is a student at Palo Alto High School (Paly). He was interviewed by a peer and one of our student Catalysts--Dorian--for the RE-ENVISIONED collective visioning project at Paly in Spring 2017. Check out other #SchoolSpotlight interviews for Paly by following #PeopleofPaly.

Ty, tell me about yourself, how do you feel friends and family would describe you?

I guess I find myself usually being the quiet one of the group, you know. I don't try too hard to put myself out there in a sense - I'm quiet.

When do you feel most alive at school?

I never really feel alive at school, it's mostly just going through the motions.

What are the best parts of your life right now? When do you feel that life is really good?

The best…? The best part of my life…… there is no best part, being alive is the best part. Every step I take knowing I get to see another day - there's nothing better than that.

Imagine you're all grown up, say you're in your 30’s. Can you name three things that you want yourself to be doing that will make you happy and successful with your life?

I would want wealth to be a part of it, having enough money to be at least stable. Having a loving family, and knowing I'm at a good place at that age.

How do think your parents would answer this question?

It would be similar - they would just want me to be happy. They would care much more about my well being than they would on my success and being some big shot.

What would you like your school to do, to help you get to this point?

What I would want from a school would be for them not to kill my creativity. I would want school to expand on the learning and not be so focused on grades, but about the creative process of learning.

Do you ever think that school or Pay will help you reach that good life?

 I don't know how often a native student comes through Paly but, I hope it changes for a person like me.

Do you believe that Paly plays that role for all students? 

"No, not at all. There are kids here that don't have a voice at all because everyone else is so busy with what they're doing and they can't just stop and look around and see kids who obviously are having hard problems, cause you can tell when a kid is just quiet."

Who has been your favorite teacher until now at Paly? 

I've had a couple. The first one would be Mr. Chelly, a man I will never forget. He just changed my view on how I learn.

"The way he taught the class is the way everyone should teach - he didn't care about the grade, he cared about the learning. And how to feed these kids education in a good, healthy way."

Everyone passed that year, so I believe people should realize what he did. Another favorite would be Mr Bolano, he made me think too. He helped me dig into my mind and help me speak it. I amazed myself doing that with the help of him. And we also connected because we were both people of color.

Can you tell me a time when you learned something and It felt really good and empowering inside or outside of school?

I guess it would be learning my spiritual path, being connected to my spiritual side definitely has a big influence on the way you live your life and the native way always influences things I do in life and it will for the rest of it.

Why do you think we have schools in our society?

Well knowledge, Knowledge is put on a pedestal in our society. I'm not saying it shouldn't, but there should be more things put into it. Teaching the same lessons every year, however long, they need to make it interesting. They gotta change it up.

Is there anything I didn't ask but you expected me to ask?

I guess the race side of it. I sort of thought because I'm native, I believed that there was gonna be some sort of question about my race and how it plays into school.