Private to public: A positive change

September 5, 2017 — by Annissa Mu

Sophomore Ava Benders had attended private schools for almost her entire life. For years, she wore the same white collared shirts and blue skirts to school every day.

Having transferred to SHS, Benders has the freedom to choose between any appropriate article of clothing. To most public school students, dressing differently from their peers is a day-to-day normality, but for Benders it is a constant physical reminder of her new environment.

Benders spent her freshman year at Presentation High School, an all-girls Catholic high school in San Jose. But after talking with friends who attended public schools, Benders considered transferring.

“I had good friends at my old school, but there were a lot of people who weren’t very nice to be around,” Benders said. “I’m not sure why, maybe because there weren’t any guys to talk about, but there was this group of girls who would spread rumors about almost everyone and it made so many students miserable.” She said 30 girls in her grade decided to transfer as a result of these issues.

In addition, Benders also said she struggled with Presentation’s academic system. Though the academics were not “too challenging,” the work required was so overwhelming that Benders said she did not have time for herself.

After talking to her best friend Sarah Tucker, who had been in public school her whole life, and the people she had met through horseback riding who attended public schools, she felt that the would find public school better suit for herself.

By the fifth month of her freshman year, Benders was fully dedicated to switching schools.

She said the most difficult part of transferring schools was figuring out her schedule. At private schools, the curriculum tends to move at a faster pace and since Bender had attended private school since kindergarten, she found that her schedule this year has been a lot easier. Many of Saratoga High’s sophomore classes are classes she had already taken as a freshman, so she tried her best to avoid retaking them.

Some classes that overlapped were history and science; since she took World History and Biology last year, she is now currently taking World Geography and Chemistry.

In the end, Benders said the transition from Presentation to SHS has been a positive change.

“This school is still academically challenging,” said Benders. “But I now have time for my friends, my sports and just enjoying high school in general. This school was also just as good as my last and I don’t have to drive 30 minutes to school every day; I live right down the street.”