Quadrilateral Circles

Scripps Ranch High School senior Grace Klein will write occasional columns for the SRCA Newsletter about her experiences at the high school from her unique perspective. She requested that her column be called “The Voice” in honor of her summer reading assignment, “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” “The Voice” is the name of Owen Meany’s column in his school newspaper in the book. He used his column to criticize everything and everyone about Gravesend Academy.

Grace explains, “My column will be far more sanitized than that, as my parents have forbid me from insulting anyone directly. But the principle still applies.”

There is a circle of grass in the center of my school named The Quad. Presumably, The Quad originally referred to the vaguely square-ish shape formed by the corners of the four surrounding buildings. Alas, like most words that pass through the lips of teenagers, “quad” has lost all meaning. Four sides? Who needs ‘em.

But for the name, The Quad itself is unremarkable. It was probably intended to give students a sense of nature within the concrete castle of our campus, especially after they replaced our authentic grass field in the stadium with rubber synthetic.

It was a nice thought, but we live in San Diego and our school is so open-air that there isn’t even a hallway fit to house lockers. Intrepid upperclassmen have to substitute their cars instead. Nature is all around us: birds roost in the rafters of our classrooms, ants march under desks, and it is always springtime in the bungalow bathrooms. As teenagers we spend the majority of our days trying to hide from it in cramped rooms lit solely by flickering screens. We do not need more nature.

The students at my school absolutely refuse to touch the grass. This is not a protest tactic, and, as near as I can tell, there is no official rule against walking on the grass. The Quad is in the middle of everything and most students’ routes would, theoretically, go straight through it. Regardless, practically every single student who encounters it goes around. I’m guilty of this myself most days. It is possible to count on one hand the number who cut through the grass any given passing period.

This baffles me. Most freshmen would—and do—sacrifice all dignity just to get to class a few seconds earlier; they are simply that worried about being on time. But it takes at least an extra 30 seconds for them to circle around The Quad instead of cutting through it. The power of peer pressure is awesome indeed.

The trend continues during lunch when students arrange themselves in concentric circles radiating out from The Quad. I believe there is a correlation between confidence in personal social status and proximity to the grass edge. The un-athletic underclassmen, naturally, lurk beneath the library at the cafeteria tables where The Quad is barely visible, whilst the Associated Student Body members play reindeer games at the edges of the grass.

Some cliques are even confident enough to bring picnic blankets to use at the widest boundaries of the The Quad, but no one—ever—sits in the center. I think it’s like declaring oneself the center of attention; it would certainly draw stares from the surrounding hordes. So far, no one’s dared to step out and start a rock ballad Bollywood number complete with flash-pan twirl-and-fall conclusion. My dancing feet await the day.

The Quad is the epicenter of all great happenings at our school. It hosts the Good-Bye Rally, the Battle of the Bands, prom queen elections, bottle-rocket launchings, psychology experiments, and more! Yet, even then, no one sits in the center to watch the show.

The Quad has its own gravitational pull; socialites orbit it in little planetary packs—the Falcon Five News so aptly dubbed it “flocking”—often remaining in motion for an entire lunch period. But, much like the sun, there’s this sense that anyone who touches it is going to get his hand burned off by super-heated plasma. Which is stupid, because grass is a solid. Then again, the fake-grass turf, which is fully capable of melting a student’s shoes off while she’s wearing them, has conditioned us to mistrust nature. So perhaps we aren’t being that silly after all.

Submit Your Creative Work

If you attend SRHS, then this probably is relevant to you. I assume that all of my lovely readers are literate. What am I saying?! Of course you are—you’re reading right now! And if you enjoy reading, you know what you’ll enjoy even more? Writing. Specifically, for the Scripps Ranch Literary Magazine. Yes, we have one of those, and, yes, they do publish actual written things by actual real-live high schoolers.

It is accepting submissions right now. Like, right now right now, since the deadline is Friday, Jan. 10, and that’s pretty close to the date this SRCA Newsletter comes out. Our prompt this year is “Through the Looking Glass,” which is really vague and does not entitle you to plagiarize Lewis Carroll.

You may submit poems—haikus, limericks, sonnets, blank verse—all are acceptable! Short written pieces of any genre— even autobiographical, please, please keep them short—or your own artwork, including photography! I don’t think we’re capable of publishing video, so I apologize to all you amateur directors. But to everybody else: respectfully, get on it!

Grace Klein, SRHS Senior