Dear Santa: What My School Needs This Xmas

Dec. 24, 2013 / By

By VoiceWaves Guest Reporters Citlali Hernandez and Jocelyn Sanchez

[Ed.Note] VoiceWaves asked two Long Beach high school students to take a photo that depicts things or conditions at their school that they would like to see addressed and/or improved. In the text below, they explained why they took the photo, what they would like to be improved, and how their education is impacted by whatever the issue is they photographed.

Jordan High School in North Long Beach has been my second home for the last 4 years and despite it’s negative reputation, I feel the school has changed for the better. There are some flaws that still exist in Jordan today, but there’s something that I personally consider to be the biggest problem: our school library.

The library is where most students come to type up papers or check out books. In my eyes, I think the kinds of books the library has to offer is the problem. The picture above shows how many books are in our library, and it looks like a lot, but I’ve noticed that most of the books are too old or damaged. I feel that students including myself should be able to enjoy good quality books. There are times when a student will check out a book that’s been sitting in our library for a while and end up getting charged with damages they didn’t do when the book gets returned. Other times, students will want to check out a book, but due to its poor quality, the book becomes unavailable for checkout.

Another part of the book problem is the limited variety of books that we have. Being a huge lover of reading, I feel that many of our novels are outdated. There are times when I go in looking for a certain book and am disappointed to not find it there so I can just imagine how other students react. A lot of the novels in the library just sit there and collect dust, when they shouldn’t be.  A new supply of books in our school library could improve not only our school but also the education of students with higher test scores, better papers and hopefully encourage students to read more. —Jocelyn Sanchez, 16, Jordan High School

santa2More than anything, I hope that segregation within schools would change. It’s understandable why people naturally want to associate with people who share the same language, same values, same culture, and, even, same skin color; however, when this takes place we shut out the rest of the world.

We build walls and when opposing ideas between different people meet, it’s like war takes place. Although we are taught to work with others and to keep an open mind, we never really do.

At Wilson, we are subject to fights among people of different ethnicities, and at times, even among our own.

It’s difficult to pull away from what you’ve always known and it’s also challenging to break away from the “tradition” of only “staying behind the rally stage because you’re black” or “near the 300 building, the 400 building, and the Media Center because you’re white or economically well-off”, but it’s necessary so that we can begin to build relationships and safe environments within our school.

Long Beach has always been about changing for the better, which is why I wish students would desegregate to serve as a first step for improving our school. It would help our education by making it a safer and productive environment.

We fought to allow people of all races and ethnicities to attend the same schools, but years later, we are still divided. If people could see the bigger picture, they’d understand that everyone is different, but through our differences we learn about the world better and by doing so as a whole, the things we want to achieve become more possible, easier. That’s what I wish Santa could do for me this year.–Citlali Hernandez, 17, Wilson High School

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VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 16-24, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of community health issues and activate change.