Teaching to Change LA > Youth Voices > Vol. 5, Issue 1 > Electoral Politics
Electoral Politics > Features > Student Work
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A Day in the Life

Stanley Settle II is a senior at Westchester High School.

I am a student taking a class at UCLA’s IDEA Summer Seminar and I would like to tell you about the conditions at your schools and provide some solutions. But I will need your full attention from this point on and I will need you to take this with all seriousness. The conditions that we, as students, are forced to learn in are an outrage for the simple fact that it isn’t the same at all schools, which means that certain schools are being discriminated against.

The change is evident because the deeper you get into Westchester the more you can tell the difference between Westchester and Inglewood. Westchester has a clean community and many trees, but Inglewood has very few trees and there is just a different feeling in this communities.

My traditional days at school are hectic because I must dodge fights that happen three out of five days of the week. Then I must make sure that I get the things that I need out of my locker before lunch. But I am getting ahead of myself. On my way to school I go straight down Manchester Blvd., unless there is traffic and then I go through a twisting path that gets me to school. But on both of these routes a change in scenery is evident. The change is evident because the deeper you get into Westchester the more you can tell the difference between Westchester and Inglewood. Westchester has a clean community and many trees, but Inglewood has very few trees and there is just a different feeling in these communities. Another thing that one can see is the different races of the residents.

I get to school by my dad or mom, but there are many kids that take the MTA and you see them getting off the bus as you approach school. You can also see a number of kids walking the other way because they decided that they would rather not attend school for the day. As you walk into my school and up the steps of the A building, it seems like our administrators are always rushing and they seem so unorganized. On Tuesday through Friday we have a block schedule, but on Monday we have all classes. So, this is a typical Monday with my second semester schedule. I arrive to school at around 7:53 a.m. every day so I only have time to go to my locker and walk to class. Hopefully, I will see one of my classmates on the way so if I am late I won’t be alone. If you are late at my school you must go to the Social Hall where you stand in line and wait for a blue tardy slip for at least 30 minutes, which ends up making you more late than you have to be. My first period last year was AP United States History which was a well behaved class that I enjoyed. We had little interruptions except for the class next to ours which was noisy and controlled their teacher. They seemed to be even more noisy on days when we were taking tests. Then we have a passing period which is eight minutes and you hear lots of loud cursing, most of which is probably directed at teachers. Some teachers give it right back to the students. My second period class is Math Analysis which is another well-mannered class. It is different from all the other math classes that I have had before because at Westchester if you stay in regular math you generally won’t learn or you will have difficulty doing it. But if you are in Honors or AP, you will do fine. This is different with math because, once you get into Trig, it is a good class because the “troublemakers” don’t take it normally. After second period is nutrition which is when you find out which bathrooms are locked because that is probably the bathroom door that you will pull on and it will be locked. If that is the case, then you must go all the way to the other side of the campus to use the bathroom. When I go to my spot at nutrition with most of my teammates, I generally find out who to stay away from or what area to stay away from because there will either be a fight, a rumble, or somebody getting jumped three times out of the week. If it is a shortened day or a minimum day in that week, there will be four fights. But if word gets out to any administrators that a fight happened, no football player better be around it because we would have extra running from our coach. My third period is AP English Language and that class is one of my favorites because most of the time we only have discussions about the book we're reading.


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