Teaching to Change LA > Youth Voices > Vol. 5, Issue 1 > Electoral Politics
Electoral Politics > Features > Student Work

PhotoA Day in the Life

Roxana Flores is a senior at Garfield High School.

My life is not easy. Every morning I wake up and it is the same sad story over and over. Hello my name is Roxana Flores. I am 17 years old and attend Garfield High School in East L.A. I wake up every morning at 5:00 a.m to get ready to go to school. I live in Pico Rivera and every morning my daily route is down a predominantly white middle class community where the streets are very clean on Whittier Blvd. Along my way to Garfield I see different communities. First I see Pico Rivera. The next community I drive through is Montebello. Montebello is different than Pico Rivera because you see more Latinos in Montebello. The community is somewhat clean, but not as clean as Pico Rivera. After we leave Montebello we enter The Barrio in East L.A. This community is different and you see more Latinos than white people.

Learning from the past is always interesting, but I believe that our history classes should teach more about what really is going on today in our government and how it works.

At 7:00 a.m. I arrive to Garfield. Usually by this time there is traffic that causes a lot of students to be late for first period. Students who are tardy get sent to the tardy room where they waste an hour of education doing nothing. Each of our classes is an hour long and for every period the tardy policy is enforced. My first period class is one out of my three electives. First period is drafting, a class which prepares students who are interested in being architects. During fourth period this class is full of ESL students, meaning students who should be getting classes to help them learn the English language. Second period is also one of my electives, which is culinary arts class, a more advanced cooking class. Students take this class as an elective because they think this class is all about cooking, but they are wrong. When we started to do written work in this classless students showed up and eventually many dropped the class or just didn’t bother to go.

Nutrition is an eighteen minute break which many students use to socialize. During nutrition, students just hang around different areas of the school. The mall area is a place where students divide themselves into different groups. Students divide into groups according to their social class or groups they are involved with in school. Most of the time during nutrition many of the administrators go out and supervise. Sometimes they waste time on trying to discipline students that don’t need discipline. Administrators sometimes discriminate against students because of the way they dress and the people they hang around with. Instead of administrators wasting their time on discipline they should stay in the office and help other students with their academics and hire more security.

East Los Angeles does not have to be a community with challenges if, as a community, we get together and change things around.

After nutrition comes third period. My third period class happens to be English class. This class is one of my most outstanding classes for the reason that our teacher is a person who makes us think about reality. This teacher makes us think about ourselves and our future and she helps us reflect on what we write, read or see. These are the kinds of teachers that we need now to be successful. This teacher makes me realize that we do not have enough teachers like her who want us to go to college. As Jay MacLoed said “schools train the wealthy to take up places of the economy while conditioning the poor to accept their lowly status in the class structure.” Fourth period is history class. History classes are supposed to be about learning and about the government. It should be about things that will help us look at our lives now and reflect on what happened in the past and what is going on now. Learning from the past is always interesting, but I believe that our history classes should teach more about what really is going on today in our government and how it works.

After fourth period we have lunch. Lunch is thirty minutes long and during this time students take time to socialize. Most of the days our leadership class brings over different kinds of radio stations. What I think is that, instead of our leadership class bringing radio stations, they should have more rallies informing students on what is going on at their school and their community. What our school should offer is presentations on all the groups involved politically.

After lunch we have fifth period. During fifth period I have Honors Physiology. In this class I learn about the human body and its functions. After fifth period I have sixth period, which is French class. In this class I have an old teacher whom I believe shouldn’t be teaching. This teacher is old and is not able to handle the pressure of a noisy classroom. Also, in this teacher’s class a lot of cheating goes around and every day is basically a movie day.

School is over at 3:11 p.m. After a long day at school I go to my church in my community. At my church I am involved in how I can make our community a better environment. We are able to get more youth involved in the community and for this reason my church is starting little by little to add more programs on how youth can be involved. As a community, the youth don’t really care about what is going on, but our community has to go to them for their help. East Los Angeles does not have to be a community with challenges if, as a community, we get together and change things around. So change is possible and it's up to the community to change it.


Teaching to Change LA is an online journal of IDEA, UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, & Access