Vail Valley Voices: Don’t sell Red Canyon High School short
Vail, CO, Colorado
While I was visiting an art gallery with my mom in New York, the manager asked how the football team at my school was doing.
I told him that I attend Red Canyon High School, which is an alternative school, so we don’t have a football team.
He looked me in the eye and said, “So you’re a delinquent, then.” He didn’t phrase this as a question. It was instantly assumed that no matter who I was, where I came from or how well I do in school, I am a delinquent because of the school I attend.
At Red Canyon, we have our “school norms,” or character qualities: respect, community, honor and self-discipline.
There is one day per month called “crew day,” when we focus on nothing but learning about one of these qualities.
For the month of February, we focused on self-discipline. Yes, they sat us down and gave us the typical “go to class, work hard, don’t talk in class” speech.
But it was more than that. At Red Canyon, it’s not just about your grades. Yes, those are important, but it’s also important that you grow as a person.
One student said that self-discipline at Red Canyon to him meant “being able to do all your classes while dealing with the rest of your life.”
For self-discipline, one of the lessons they taught us was that the choices you make now really will affect the rest of your life. With that, they tied in a lesson about safe driving with the help of a representative from the program Alive at 25, a program designed to teach 15- to 24-year-olds about safe driving.
Another lesson was that the best tool you have is your spirit. One guest speaker said, “The words you say to yourself are what’s going to come out in reality.”
We learned that we need to believe in ourselves, or we won’t go anywhere. We were taught that just because everyone else is doing it, that doesn’t make it a good idea.
Another student said what he took away from the day was to be a leader, not a follower.
A teacher at Red Canyon High School said that to her, “self-discipline meant evaluating the situation and making the decision you feel is best for you and for the school.”
We learn these things every month. Red Canyon doesn’t just improve academic behavior; it also strives to improve our character, if we allow it to.
We are there for all kinds of different reasons, whatever those are, but we’re there by choice.
So maybe some of us are delinquents. But that doesn’t define who we are, by any means.
So if I am seen as a delinquent because of the school I attend, then I choose to be a diligent delinquent.
Samantha Lewis is a junior at Red Canyon High School.