Written by Nikky Johnson, WLLC 2015-2016
When I was fourteen years old, I made a decision that changed my life forever. I applied to, and decided to attend the Jackson Hole Community School, instead of the public school across the street. I joined this class of eighteen, bright-eyed students, whom I learned with, adventured with, and grew to love with all of my heart; and the eighteen of us graduated in 2015, all attending pristine universities. As a basic definition, “community” means, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals” (Merriam-Webster). This sense of community is exactly what I received in attending this school. The community school is a college prep school, so from day one, very high standards are set for the students, as well as full-heartedly accepted and withheld all four years of high school. But more than rigorous studies, intimate learning, and community service, Jackson Hole Community School provides a sense of family to its students. It provides a safe and appreciated environment where students grow in every important way.
And so similarly to this spring quarter course, my entire high school experience was centered around community: reaching out, making a difference, bringing our precious mountain town together, and in turn creating an unbreakable and much loved community between the eighteen students of our graduating class, and the entire faculty of the Jackson Hole Community School. I can proudly state that I loved (like really loved) almost every single faculty member at the Jackson Hole Community School. There was a respect, an understanding, and an availability that is incomparable to any other school. Our relationships are still strong, as I receive emails frequently from more than half of my teachers from high school. From a Wellness class reading, “Relationships include the continual negotiation of partner needs and interests within existing and newly created power structures” (Program Planning). In experiencing these relationships first hand, I understand the importance of respect, responsibility, roles, and resources. With such principles, life-long relationships are made, and a whole new form of community is created.
I understand what community means to individuals. A strong, positive, and growth encouraging community can absolutely change lives. It changed mine. It taught me responsibility, appreciation, and friendship. I am so thankful for community; I’m thankful for every single individual that existed in my personal community and taught me how to live my life.
^This is my graduating class! I know more about these people than most people know about their closest friends, and this was my entire class. We all struggled through classes together, we overcame high school together, and currently we are all taking on college with a confidence and pride that most freshmen don’t have when entering a University. Every single one of these people has a story, a huge difference in their outlook of life than the person on their left and the person on their right. Yet, we all hold each other responsible for being the best people we can be. And we take full advantage of relationship and community and we are better for it.
“College Acceptances 2015.” Jackson Hole Community School. School Site, 2015. Web. Picture.
“Community.” Unabridged Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 27 March 2016.
“Partnering Organizations.” Free Speech Week. The Media Institute, 2015. Web. Picture.
“Program Planning.” Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Spring 2009. Pp 17-33. Print.