Only 20 miles away.
By Alec Thomas
On Wednesday, January 18th, I was invited by both my sister and the Newspaper department of Rangeview High School to shadow other students and learn about the contrasts between both Legend and Rangeview High School.
When I walked up the steps of Rangeview High School, I had no idea how the day was going to pan out. And even as my sister walked me to her class (yes, she’s Mrs. Westerdale), I still held a sense of nervousness for the first time in a while. I didn’t know how students would react to me, and especially didn’t know how teachers would react to me. After taking time to process all the information after that day and as I write this story, I can’t say that I’ve ever felt more invited and welcomed into a new environment before.
For those that don’t know, yes, for a day I was that guy that was on most people’s social media or who was being talked about for the rest of the day that I was at Rangeview. I was, just simply put, the really cool dude who did magic and literally blew people’s minds, both teachers and students. And yes, while going teacher to teacher performing magic for their classes was incredibly fun, I actually observed literally dozens of different values, morals, and differences between both schools.
To begin, this isn’t a story just to say that one school is better than the other. Legend High School isn’t better than Rangeview High School, and vice versa. It’s just to hopefully open the eyes of the people who might not see the full perspective on both schools. Let’s start off with the clearly distinct difference between the two schools: race.
Now if you’ve seen me (hint–it’s at the bottom), I look white, but I promise I’m not. I’m Korean, Chinese, Japanese, English, Filipino, Taiwanese, Mongolian, an Ashkenazi Jew, Greek, Italian, Spanish, German, Native American and surprisingly, 3% North African. The point I’m trying to get at here is that I’m completely and totally mixed, which is actually very similar to how Rangeview works. At Legend, I’d say the population here is, for the most part, dominantly white. And as I went to Post Grad to actually find the demographics of Legend High School, I came to find that 80.37% (as of January 24th, 2017) of the school identifies as white, while the rest of the minority is either Asian, Hispanic, Black or African American, or Native American. I bet you could probably count on three or four hands all the black people in this school. This is a sentence I wrote before I had the demographics of Legend, and as I came to find out, there are 21 students in the entire school of 2068 kids that identify as Black or African American. Five hands. Hah. Rangeview, however, is MUCH different. There were people of all races there, without a clear dominance of any of them, which actually felt like such a huge relief to me. It made me feel welcome almost, like no one person is more important or dominant than another, which also is honestly more close to how the real world works. This is something that I think a lot of kids at Legend don’t really understand yet. The world is completely and totally mixed. Any job you work, any school you attend will always have a sense of mixed groups of people. That is, of course, unless you’re the President of the United States and hire an entire cabinet of white old people that have too much money and are too idiotic to realise that their main concerns that involve Russia or grizzly bears in schools are absurd. But I digress, so let’s move on to mention the actual behavior of the some of the students there.
I had one of the students in my first class of the day, a complete stranger to me, openly and casually admit he was gay. I guarantee if you said to a random stranger at Legend that you were gay, they might immediately view you as a completely different person and may treat you entirely different. At Rangeview, from my perspective, it felt like they had no sense of difference between anyone that I met. It was like you could be who you wanted to be without anyone judging. They all shared a moral of respect. At Legend, for the most part, kids tend to be more conservative, with many that have a strong sense of entitlement. You can’t joke with a kid or make a negative comment on something without pissing off some parent, who will send an email to the Principal (or maybe your Newspaper advisor). I really enjoyed the candidness of Rangeview, and it gave me a sense of that everyone is unique and yet, at the same time, similar. It was nice; it was a relief.
Another aspect that I wanted to touch on as well was the story of Noah Williams. This gentleman is a junior at Rangeview, and just the week before, he got into a terrible car accident with his sister. His sister, Katiana Williams, is fine, with only a few cuts and bruises, but he wasn’t as fortunate. Noah is now paralyzed completely from the waist down, and his entire family is in distress. (At the end of the article, I’ve created a link to go visit their GoFundMe if you want to contribute). But something significant about this event stood out to me when I heard about this. I got this information from the school announcement over the PA system, where a dean came on the school intercom and announced all the information, along with a way to help out. With this key ideal, I believe this is another difference from Legend. If we ever have a tragic event that happens at Legend, parents will get an email from the school about the event telling what happened. Teachers will then have to read verbatim off a letter that they are given from the school about the event. Many students will then gossip information the entire day. And just maybe, if an assembly happens to be near the time of the tragedy, then we just might talk about it. Essentially if you are talking about it in public in an open scenario, it’s viewed as taboo. It’s rude and impolite to talk about it at all, regardless of the fact that it’s over the intercom. While I can understand that getting information on the intercom seems a little impersonal as much as a manuscript is, the key difference I believe between both schools is legitimately the fact that Rangeview wants to focus on the future. It’s almost like Rangeview sees that these issues happen, and instead of ignoring it or trying to be ashamed of it, they’d rather focus on helping the future of those around the tragedy. You can’t change the past, but you can sure as hell help out the future, which is something that I believe Rangeview really wants to focus on. Legend will have maybe a small event to help out with the families of the tragedies, but they won’t ever make it a huge deal at all.
Sorry to take more a serious tone with this article, but I feel like these are the most distinct differences between schools that immediately and should stand out. And most importantly, a huge shout out to The Rangeview Raider Review. Mr. Carabello, Hannah Metzger, Dominique Harlan, Chris Arias, Dennae Pigford, Jorian “J Fresh” Marshall, Jaylen Dunbar, and so many more (you know who you are), you guys are all amazing and you all made my day. Thank you.
And also, the link to Noah Williams.