Unlocke’n the Saints
Coming to an end of my senior year at Locke High School, I am seen as a survivor, a survivor of a school that is mainly known for chaos. A school that gave an entire School District no other option than to give up on it. A school that’s name is only put into the mouth of newscaster when violence occurs. But are violent and chaotic the proper adjectives to describe the students attending the school? As a student attending Locke, I am always judged and seen as the next drop out due to the history of the school. But why is it that students who attend Locke High School are seen as violent and are unexpected to achieve?
Growing up in Watts, most students have no other option but to attend Locke High School. The over exposure of images seen by those students at a young age in the community causes them to become desensitized which impacts the way they view education. When LAUSD (School District) gave up on Locke, students became hopeless and felt that school had no point to it. This all led up to violence and riots of over 600 students according to the Moment in Time article on May 2008. However, that changed forever when GreenDot, a charter organization of schools took over.
The fact that the school got taken over by another district did not impact the way the students are judged. The lack of resources is a huge reason why we don’t advance drastically in education. We are still considered a low performing school due to our test scores but as time goes by we observe a huge improvement. According to the GreenDot news, in 2008 only 196 students got a proficient score on their California Standardized Test but as GreenDot took over in just its second year 341 students reached that same score.
Even though we see improvements at Locke, most people assume we are horrific people. This was proven to me just the other day when my friends and I went out to a mall in an affluent community. A mall cop seen our appearance at the mall and questioned about the school that we attended. Shortly after our discussion about our school we viewed him following us. When I identified him near us I asked, “Why are you following us?” and he responded by saying that he was not following us at all. My friends and I felt dehumanized at the moment because we weren’t being treated like others at the mall.
So, why is it that we are still seen as chaotic if our school unlike many others is actually being productive on trying to fix the flaws that we have. “We now witness about one fight per month which is nothing compared to the years of LAUSD” claimed Oscar Vargas, a student who witnessed the transformation from LAUSD to GreenDot. As years pass by we see progress and yet our reputation remains the same. It’s sad that people don’t see our attempt to succeed especially now, culminating the third year of GreenDot the senior class had over 350 students with over 20% eligible to a four year university according to our counselor which is about 8% more than the years of LAUSD. Therefore we must not look at the negative history, but we shall focus on the history that is being written at these moments by the students who are seeking for a better future.
When juxtaposing Watts and Locke you build a negative connotation but as expressed one must be critical and shall give credit to those who attempt to change. I see no reason on why as a student attending Locke High School one is rapidly labeled as chaotic if all they are doing now is attempting to succeed just like those students in other communities of different history. As the development of a well school is still in process we must see the students from Locke as people who are seeking to receive an internationally competitive education.
Too often students of lower performing schools are judged based on the schools that they attend but in reality everyone strides for success. Therefore I demand that if you don’t understand or know ones struggle, don’t judge at all!