By Alicia Brown
High school can be a new and exciting time in your life where you can start discovering your true self. While this is a time of exploration, school work is often a constant blockade. Regardless of it being stressful, you are often thrown into assignment after assignment never truly feeling as if you are on par. You pour your heart into every task and often end up feeling consumed by your academic workload.
Students need a stress reliever to help them cope with the weight placed upon them. For many students, the best option is to squeeze in some fun during school hours through activities like clubs, teams, or sports.
At our school, competition is key. It is unlikely you’ll get anywhere if you are not fighting for your spot and working your hardest. Our school team competitions are so rigorous and successful that many students and teams have the opportunity to compete at the state and national level. These teams range from Speech and Debate, Robotics, and Academic Decathlon to sports such as cross country, volleyball, soccer and many more. Students all across Granada Hills Charter High School (GHC) get to experience the thrill of being some of the best of the best.
I have had the opportunity to participate in the GHC athletics department for the last two years. I can attest to the fact that our school’s sports teams work endless hours in training in order to see results. Nearing the end of each sport season you see headlines spanning from “GHC takes city finals by storm” to “Another year of advancing to state.” GHC dominates the West Valley League and is a fierce competitor for the Los Angeles City Section across many of its sports.
Most of our sports teams advance to state such as cross country, golf, soccer, volleyball, and basketball, just to name a few. To many, it can be overwhelming knowing that you are some of the best in your state.
“I never really thought I would make it as far as I did. It took me a long time to get to the place I am in now. We all had to work hard over weekends and vacations with very few breaks. We worked in crazy heat every day but it was all worth it. Being a state competitor is a lot of pressure, there are certain expectations that you have to meet and when you don’t, you let yourself, and everyone else down. Despite the importance and large scale of the race, state was an amazing experience I am happy I was able to share with my teammates,” junior Estefania DeLoSantos, who competed at the 2016 state competition for varsity girls cross country, said.
The fact that our sports and academic teams often advance to at least the state level is a testament to our school’s culture of excellence. Being a state competitor is stressful, but allows students to push their knowledge and learn how to network with competitors outside of their own region.
In most academic programs, students work for hours on proposals, practice tests and lessons to perfect the skills required in their field.
For example GHC students who competed at the DECA state conference were required to complete a business proposal which can be done within different fields including marketing, hospitality, finance, or entrepreneurship. These proposals can range anywhere from 5 to 30 pages long. At the conference, students also compete in role playing situations where students have only a short time to prepare a solution for a random business situation.
Junior Karla Limon loves everything about her experience competing in the business services management role playing and international business plan. “I’ve really found a community of people who are always supportive of my ambitions. My written event really pushed my problem solving skills because by doing an international nonprofit, finances and researching business codes outside of the U.S. proved to be an extremely difficult task,” she said.
Being a state competitor has given these very differently-minded students not only a similar and unforgettable experience but the same confidence to further their skills at competing to be the best of the best.