Scrippies Ain’t Stupid

This is Scripps Ranch High School grad Grace Klein’s last column about her experiences as a senior. Grace heads to Stanford University in the fall! We wish her the best of luck and thank her for sharing her unique perspective throughout the year.

My high school yearbooks are covered in hags. Not that my classmates are unattractive, oh no—H.A.G.S. is the go-to response when someone you have nothing much to say to asks you to sign his or her annual. It stands for “Have A Great Summer,” and its shallowness assumes that at the end of summer the signer of the yearbook will have the chance to renew his reputation with the owner.

Only now H.A.G.S. simply isn’t going to cut it any longer. Everyone is graduated, and we aren’t coming back next fall. H.A.G.S. has transformed into H.A.N.L.—“Have A Nice Life.” There are, quite literally, familiar faces that I will never see again. That one girl with the platinum blonde hair, who I admired whenever we passed in the halls but whose name I never learned. Peripheral friends perfect for a particular sort of joke but whom I know I won’t bother to Skype.

I spent more than 12 years with the majority of these people, and in a few months we may never speak to each other again. It’s not a conscious choice. Up until now, staying in touch was an effortless result of our circumstances, but post-graduation it begins to require constant work.

I don’t recognize the majority of the students at my school. Overnight, the scrawny sophomores transformed into beefy juniors, with beards and strange up-dos. The freshmen are a total mystery to me: a horde of middle schoolers who invaded when I wasn’t paying attention.

I was going to follow this up with how I don’t recognize myself, either. In the lens of retrospection, my pre-high school persona is a horrid monster to be shoved deep into the darkest corner of my mind. But I recently received the letter I wrote at the end of 8th grade to my “Future Totally Smexy Self.” Horrifyingly, I haven’t changed a bit! Four years of character development meant nothing. I was planning to go on about how I’m a different, better person now, but I’m not. A little more comfortable in my skin, maybe, but fundamentally unchanged. Maybe that’s the point of high school. It’s not about learning to be someone else but rather who you are to the fullest. To be completely yourself as you always were, and, therefore, yourself in the best possible way.

I am proud to be from SRHS. There is an unceasing cry for us to be better: better grades, better behavior, better attitude. But you know what? Scripps Ranch High School is the best school in one of the biggest school districts in the United States. We regularly compete against charters and privates and trounce them academically. We walk all over them in Academic League, Model U.N., and Science Olympiad, just to name a few, and they devote entire classes to these competitions. At SRHS they’re unfunded student-run clubs.

As much as I like to razz our sports teams, we put a tremendous number of students into college on highly valued sports scholarships. Two girls are going to Columbia for soccer. We might not always win, but we’re passionate, and in my mind that’s succeeding.

Our Academic Performance Index (API) was the highest in the county last year among comprehensive high schools, which translates to: the class of 2014 scored as high on the standardized tests as is humanly possible without cheating.

We had eight of the 23 National Merit Scholars in the district, even though we devote very little time to promoting or preparing for the PSAT. From what I hear, next year we’ll have even more.

In our final school newspaper, we publish a map showing where everyone is going to college. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Very few Scripps graduates aren’t going somewhere. We put more than 30 people into what are considered the top three UCs—Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego—and that number is multiplied exponentially when other comparable state schools and privates are included. We put 11 seniors into UC Berkeley, the best public school in the entire country. That’s ridiculous!

The SRHS arts program is impacted by budgetary concerns, but we still put a student into an elite art school in London and several others into art schools around the country. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are supposed to organize like traditional grades, a score of a three is average, a good third of the class doesn’t pass, and only a few score as high as a four or a five. At Scripps taking the AP class is enough to basically guarantee you a three. That’s unheard of! Privates wish they had our track record. We are stupendous.

The outer edge of our “behavioral problems” is defined by a group of students who organized to come to school barefoot. That’s amazing. We don’t have fights on campus, thanks to Officer Henry Ramelli. There’s no need to expect heinous behavior from our mellow student population. Take a breath, Scripps.

We are incomparably awesome, and it’s time to have a little pride. Stop putting yourselves down and start bragging about how our school is the best in probably the entire state, and that’s without an obscene endowment. They say you never know a good thing until it’s gone, and I am so, so gone, but Scripps Ranch High School, you are a darned good thing, and I’m sorry I’m not more sorry to see you go.

This is Grace Klein, signing off: Stay classy, SRHS. H.A.N.L.