Any views or opinions presented in this editorial are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Pulse Magazine.
Walking onto a campus as a five foot freshman, brown paper bag in hand, surrounded by grown men with 5 o’clock shadows is a horrifying experience. A flash flood of freshmen rolls in from their parent’s cars. They’re dropped off in the student parking lot and disperse into the quad of CCA. The Nest becomes a barricade between the seemingly giant seniors and prepubescent freshmen, but at some point in the year, they will encounter each other. Shaking in fear, the freshman will scurry past a senior, accidentally nudging him or her with their rolling backpack. Eyes filled with rage shoot daggers at the child whimpering before them. This is how it is: this is high school.
Here at Canyon Crest Academy, we live in a world of acceptance and respect—a social utopia with the rarity of a unicorn. As a high school, there is undoubtedly a small amount of hierarchy due to the fact that we are teenagers forced to interact with each other on a daily basis. Despite this inevitability, the boundaries between classes here at CCA are slightly less apparent. Freshmen and seniors are tolerant of each other, including the sophomores and juniors in between. Surrounding high schools have adopted a sense of senior superiority and a distorted social ladder that presents itself as a normality of high school. There is always a part of the student body that will foster a superior and hierarchical mentality that places them above the younger classes, but it seems as though this is nearly nonexistent among CCA students.
Other environments may adopt a hierarchical society within its high school walls; however, Canyon Crest Academy is breaking those boundaries one day at a time. Hugs and cookies may not be distributed by seniors to freshmen on a daily basis, but there is certainly a higher sense of respect in the air at this school. A warm smile or casual “hey” can often be exchanged between classes, without the fear of disrupting social norms.
Sports teams have also managed to rebuild relationships between older and younger teammates at CCA. Incorporating novice and junior varsity teams into varsity rituals proves to be a learning experience for younger players, and enhances the “team player” character in each individual. The CCA Women’s Volleyball coach, Ariel Haas, has created a new program that integrates all three teams into one. Spending lunch together on game day and feeding off each other’s knowledge and experience, younger players are able to gain a substantial amount of insight through their older counterparts. This gives them a chance to build relationships with all participants of the volleyball program, rather than the select team they belong to. Little sisters on Junior Varsity and Novice paired with big sisters on Varsity create mentors for the younger players, and provide equal support for all of the girls.
The theater program at CCA is also a relevant source of equality among classes. When it comes to auditioning for a role, the only difference between a mature senior and puny 14 year old is merely their age. Casting is based purely on the talents and skills of the actor, disregarding seniority. As an actor goes into an audition, age is but a number and has no effect on the actor’s chance of getting the role. The Les Miserable production of 2014 casted two sophomores for the main characters, similar to the Bat Boy show with a freshman lead. Downtime also becomes an opportunity to intermingle between age groups and resist exposing oneself to the perils of exclusion.
Canyon Crest Academy is significantly different in the way that its students interact with each other, and we remain proud in the stance against class superiority and subjection to social norms. Existing in one big, accepting environment, every person here at CCA supports and accepts their fellow Ravens without exceptions, which is more than you can say about most high schools.
Skylar Binney is a staff writer for Pulse Magazine.