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‘It feels like home’
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Nov 14, 2013 | 1112 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Arivelle Joson, a freshman at Sparks High School, enjoys workin with her school’s Leadership team, planning school wide dances and events like Homecoming Week.
Arivelle Joson, a freshman at Sparks High School, enjoys workin with her school’s Leadership team, planning school wide dances and events like Homecoming Week.
Arivelle Joson only required one year to realize her school needed her. However, more importantly, she desired a challenge from Sparks High School. As a freshman, she kept her head low, focusing on her studies and keeping her chances at college scholarships alive. Still, she felt she accomplished only part of what high school has to offer.

Joson said she “didn’t feel comfortable yet” during her freshman year, keeping her from playing sports, joining clubs and making herself visible in the school. She has turned her school life on its head as a sophomore, joining the soccer and basketball teams, student Leadership and becoming a tutor to younger students.

Joson said her schedule is dense, but it is worth the inherent stress to be more involved in the school.

“You get to be a part of the school and you feel like it is home,” she said about Leadership class. “It’s fun, especially when we are planning for assemblies and other fun events. I didn’t think I was going to be in Leadership, and then after I got in, I was always talking to different kids, finding out what they wanted to do for Homecoming days and different projects. It really got me out there and talking to people.”

Joson said her AVID class, designed to motivate students in planning for college, has been most beneficial this year because she is able to interact with and tutor freshman students who are in the same situation she was in a year ago. She said seeing the timidness in their eyes helps her open up to them and let them know they have plenty of support throughout the school.

“It makes me feel good,” she said, “Because I know some things that they don’t know and I am able to teach them and help them understand. It really does make me feel good knowing they are learning the way I did when I was in their position.”

Her work in AVID, as well as other classes, is leading her toward an advanced diploma and it has earned her the Student of the Month nomination, signifying to Joson that her deeds were noticed. Her success in the class has her leaning toward a future career in social work or psychology where she hopes to continue helping others work through difficult problems.

“I like to listen to problems and I think I could really help people just by allowing them to open up and talk,” Joson said. “I like to watch documentaries and when I see kids who look like they need help, it makes me feel bad and I am always thinking of a way to help.”

Joson said her school of choice is still being determined, but the University of California, Berkeley is one she has her eye on. She said she is enjoying the amount of time she has to decide and will weigh the options as she better defines her future.

Outside of school, Joson spends the majority of her free time at home with her family, though she can often be found working late at school for various Leadership projects or homework. Joson admitted that she was unexcited about her prospective future when entering Sparks High given the school’s sub-par academic reputation, but she said speculation only blinded her to the real potential she feels now.

“I wasn’t going to go here at first,” she said, “And I didn’t think this school was going to benefit me in anything because of what I had heard, but now that I go here, I don’t think I could ever go anywhere else. I am attached to this school. There is no drama and it’s very welcoming.”
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