Kalela, High School Student, CA




"I honestly feel like school was made because they want adults to work their lives away and, to do that, someone has to watch their kids.  So, they send us to school so that we grow up, get jobs, have kids, and repeat the cycle."

Kalela is a high school student in California.  She was interviewed as part of a #schoolpartnership #studentvoice project with REENVISIONED, in which students interview each other and adults in their lives, and reflect together on school and what makes a good life.

Tell me about yourself!  How would your friends describe you?  How would your family describe you?

My friends would describe me as funny and antisocial.  My family would describe me as obnoxious.


Can you tell me about your day at school?

Today was like any other day.  I was late to school. I went to all my classes and took a reading test that took like an hour and a half to finish.


When do you feel most alive at school?

I feel most alive at school when I’m at “mountains to sea.”  It’s a program where every Friday they pick you up and you get to learn outside instead of in a classroom.


What’s your favorite part of your life right now?

My favorite part of life right now is probably just my favorite artists dropping their albums.


Now, imagine you are all grown up. Let’s say you’re 30!  What are three central things you think would make it a good or successful life?

Three central things to a good life are a job, a house, and your loved ones.

How do you imagine what your parents would answer is similar or different?

My mom would probably say a car, a house, and money - so it's pretty similar.


What would you like school to do, ideally, to help you get to that good life?

I guess just going to school, then working and opening up a savings account.


Do you think this school will do that for you?  Why or why not?

Yeah because you need an education to get a job, and you need a job to buy a house.


Will your school play that role for all students in the school?  If not, why not?

I think it will for the kids who actually apply themselves.


What do you think is the most important thing you’re learning in school?

I'm taking this class on early childhood education and I feel like it's super important because it can help me be a better auntie to my nieces and nephews, or even a better mom in the future if I know more about kids and how they learn, comprehend facts and develop.


Who has been your favorite teacher until now?  Why?

My favorite teacher has always been Mrs. McGuire, my third grade teacher.  She was someone who was kind, funny, and friendly, but also pushed me to do my best all the way up to middle school.  When I was in middle school I went and visited her every week.


Can you tell be about a time when you learned something and it felt really good and empowering?

When I learned CPR in my early childhood development class it felt good to know a skill that could help save someone's life.  When my dad had heart failure earlier this year it meant a lot to me that I did all I could to help him until the ambulance came.  It made me want to be a firefighter or an ER nurse.


Why do you think we have schools as a society?

I honestly feel like school is made because they want adults to work their lives away and, to do that, someone has to watch their kids.  So, they send us to school so that we grow up, get jobs, have kids, and repeat the cycle.


Is there anything this has made you think about in terms of school or Life that you’d like to talk more about?

All throughout my life I have dealt with a lot.  I switched schools a lot and I've seen and know when teachers are just working for a check or actually trying to make a difference in  students’ lives.  I've seen teachers put down students for the way they speak or learn or think and it's not right.  I feel like we should open more alternative schools like ours - not as continuation schools, but as just a regular school option for kids to have a safe place to learn and grow into mature adults.


10,000 Stories. One Shared Vision.

REENVISIONED is a national movement to redefine the purpose of school.  We believe schools should foster flourishing individuals and a thriving democratic society.  But what does it mean to thrive or flourish? 

To answer this, we're building the world's largest collection of stories about what it means to live good lives and the role schools should play in helping create them: 10,000 stories from people across the country.  We'll use the stories to learn about our shared values and dreams and to create a new vision for why we send our children to school. 

We work with people like YOU across the country: Catalysts - individuals, classrooms, schools, and community organizations - who interview people in their communities and foster empathy nationwide by sharing the stories on our website and social media:  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (@reenvisioned). 

Learn more and join the movement.