The Best Four Years of My Life… Or Was It?


Jazmine Jean-Simon, Staff Writer

I was told that high school was supposed to be the best 4 years of one’s life, besides the college years. In high school, one gets to know one’s self, create relationships and bonds, learn about one’s strength and weaknesses, get an idea of what they would do in the future, and create a sense of community within their school. It’s one of the more critical times for self development and identity I believe. I feel that I indeed, found my identity, created lasting relationships, and was prepared for my future. However, I feel like I didn’t get what I needed out of high school at Hillcrest High School. Even though I did grow up and discover myself, I felt like the conditions that I was in were holding me back, and I will explain how. It all started my freshman year…


I was very excited to start high school. I heard about Hillcrest’s bad reputation, but I was ready to experience it on my own, no matter how many negative things I heard about it. When I came in, I didn’t really like the environment. The student body was hectic, and overall different than what I was used to. However, I was still optimistic to make new friends. Only a few of my friends from middle school came with me to Hillcrest, and everyone else was separated. At Southwood Middle School, I was in honors classes and had straight A’s. I expected that when I got to Hillcrest I would have honors classes as well. However, that wasn’t the case, I got thrown in all regular level classes. I hated it because I was in classes with kids that didn’t care about school, and would disrupt the teacher. That didn’t stop me from getting straight A’s though. I was just upset that I wasn’t around a good group of students that would help establish my personal growth. I was thankful that I was on the Flags team, where I was surrounded by upperclassmen that showed great pride in Hillcrest and their academics. I also was playing Softball in the fall. My goal for sophomore year was to get honors classes and continue with activities.


This year really threw me for a loop! I got what I asked for, and more. Earlier that January, I picked all Honors classes, because I knew that I could handle it. I also had a bit more confidence to do so, because some of my freshman teachers recommended me for honors. It was now starting to feel like I was actually in high school. I got teachers that actually cared about my grades. They pushed me to be the best I could, and even pushed me to move on to the next level of academics, AP classes. I was scared, because I wanted a challenge, but not that much of a challenge! I had already bumped myself up yo Honors Algebra 2 by taking summer geometry the summer after freshman year. I was struggling because I hated math (and still do) with a strong passion. I ended up getting a C for the second semester. I was devastated because I’ve never allowed myself to get any grade lower than a B. Matter of fact, I had 2 C’s for that second semester. I was so upset, so I took my C’s and wanted to make them A’s for my junior year. Little did I know, this was going to be the HARDEST year, out of my four years. I didn’t know what I was thinking, when I took the honors classes I thought I could handle.


This is the year when I truly disliked being at Hillcrest.  The students were just obnoxious, loud, disrespectful, and just wasted the teachers’ time. I really didn’t understand why some of the students acted the way they did. This is when I started to develop my relationships with some of my teachers, and found some positives out of getting an education at Hillcrest. My main focus was to get good grades, and a good score on the SAT. The SAT was a sensitive subject, because they switched it from the ACT right when we were about to prepare to take it. We had to learn a whole new testing style in just a couple of months before the exam. I enrolled in after school tutoring sessions, and I had an awesome, supportive tutor. I ended up getting an ok score, that was enough for me to not take finals my senior year, and I was proud of that. In addition, my grades were really good, and I had mostly A’s with maybe one B. It was ironic that the hardest year was my most successful year, so successful, that I made it to the top 10 in my class! I was also one of the captains on the flag team. That leadership role taught me so much about myself, and it taught me patience. I would tell students to pay attention junior year, because it leads your path to college, and trust me, it counts!


I was so glad when it finally came, because the idea of being at Hillcrest was making me very disappointed. I didn’t like being in that environment. The school started to get worse, as in the students, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from graduating. I finished my fourth year of being on the flag team, and it was bittersweet. I encourage anyone to stick to their sport/activity all four years, because that’s something you will be able to take away with you. My biggest regret so far was taking AP Calculus, because it was crazy hard, and I didn’t need it, and now I’m suffering from being an overachiever.

I hope future students take courses that they’re comfortable with, and actually need. If I didn’t take that class, I feel like this year would’ve been so much less stressful. I feel like I’ve had my good times at Hillcrest, but as I reflect back on my four years, I wish I wasn’t sidetracked by the daily drama of the school. I feel that I couldn’t added more good memories unless the environment was different. I just wish it felt more like a school, than the street. There are great teachers in this school that care, but all their hard work goes to waste when people aren’t home-trained. Although, I don’t think I got all I needed out of high school, I can definitely notice some changes in myself that I am proud of.

I hope future Hillcrest students can find their way around all the negatives about this school, and use them to better themselves for the real world, outside these walls.

It can be a spectacular experience, only if everyone pitches in.