September 15th, 2010

My future is the future of California

Junior year is just starting for me, and I can assume what might happen for the rest of the school year at Silver Creek. Major budget cuts have obviously affected all the schools in my district, and I know it will not be the same. I was fortunate to experience a wonderful freshman year with some budget cuts, but it didn’t affect me or my peers as much as it is now. My perspective, however, changed my sophomore year. I saw that my classes were getting bigger and heard that playing in a sport team in Silver Creek required a “donation” of $200.00. Right off the bat, I knew something was out of place. Why is the athletic department charging so much to be in a team, and why do I not see some teachers from my freshman year? More budget cuts…

The financial crisis in the state of California plays a big toll to our education, now. It’s stripping educators of their jobs and their passion to teach. It’s taking half of the counselors from Silver Creek away; leaving us with less time and guidance for the path we choose after high school. It makes a table for 8, a table of 12. A room can hold so much, and I feel like California is squeezing students into a classroom trying to make a perfect “fit”.

Also, as an ASB officer last fiscal year, my officers, the leadership class and I had to deal with the possibility of losing our Activities Director (AD). I believe this job is so important when it comes to creating social lives in the high school environment. We already have to deal with homework, and I believe everyone needs a boost to keep them motivated to stay in school. ASB events that are held in or outside of school bring more friends together and create a lasting memory. I’ve joined Homecoming, attended all the school dances, participated in multiple clubs, and involved myself in FANTASTICS. These organizations and activities have shaped me for the better and for my future. I cannot imagine going to school without looking forward to a lunch rally or a club meeting that week. These extracurricular activities keep me coming back to school with optimistic and ambitious thoughts.

Luckily, the district came around and thought hard about the AD position. However, now that our AD, Mr. Bjorn Berg, is teaching an extra class, his time is very limited to the leadership class. ASB officers had to deal with being notified that three of our five school dances had to be removed from the calendar. We now have to place our annual Civic Auditorium (Downtown, San Jose) event, FANTASTICS, back to Silver Creek’s gym. It’s obvious that the students have to cut back after school social events. However, we are lucky to keep our Inter-Club-Council (ICC) which is a student- run group that is in charge with the status of all the clubs in our campus. Without this organization, I wouldn’t be able to join the Filipino Student Union, California Scholarship Federation, and National Honor Society. As you can see, clubs and ASB events play the biggest role in my social life at Silver Creek.

Our school held two Club Days last week, Thursday and Friday, and there were so many new clubs! I was happy to see all the different interests our students had. A new club in our campus that I signed up for was Educacy. This club was formed after a real organization led by an Evergreen Parent, Steffanee Taylor. I was a part of that organization by participating in a photo shoot and commercial shot that informed all residents of California that their vote is very important, especially to our education. After being active in this event, one of my ASB officers, Amanda Schmitt, took the initiative to create a club with the same motive and the same name. I believe this club and organization will help our district come up with some money, and hopefully repair some of the cuts they proposed. It will also push students to encourage their parents to “Vote for Their Future.” This is a theme that the club and the non-profit group live by.  I believe it is our duty, as California students, to stand up and have the ones voting for us hear our voice. Registered voters don’t always have the same perspective that learning students have, and if we can have our parents vote for the future we desire, we can win this financial battle.

If you are a registered voter, if you’re qualified to vote (go register!), and if you care about my future and the future of the fellow students of California, I want you to vote this November! I’m not telling you who and what to vote for, but I can tell you that one vote, your vote, makes a big difference in the end.

Jim De Ocampo
Junior at Silver Creek High School
2011 Associated Student Body Treasurer
Proud member of Educacy

From the Students