My Name is Daniel Henson (Listening Campaign: ACOE participant).
As a young person in Alameda County, the thing I want people to know about is how diverse our communities are. So many different cultures have come together, and it is very visible within our school systems. Kids are mingling together in ways that seemed unorthodox 75 years ago, and it really is amazing. The schools in Alameda County are really pushing for youth to be very creative and unique. Teachers and students must collaborate to make getting an education a better experience for everyone involved. They attempt to implement new teaching methods so that each individual student’s needs are met, while also following a guideline and lesson plans.
I believe that some people have seemingly unfair access to a better education. The people who live in wealthy areas have access to high-class public school, while people in more underprivileged communities have less access to certain classes, sports, and activities. It can really just boil down to how the people in their community support schools. People in wealthy communities can donate more money and time to making their school a better place, while poor areas cannot support the students as much.
The most memorable experience I had on this project was seeing someone who was really shy open up and speak their mind. Seeing them get out of their comfort zone to state their opinion was very inspiring. They showed me that if you have something important to say, you say it. Being brave enough to let your voice be heard is a big step towards making a change, and I really respect the person who was able to overcome their anxiety to explain how the role of art in adolescents’ lives is just as meaningful as math, science or history.
This experience has taught me about the creative and different points of view everyone has. I have always seen things a certain way, and this project has opened my eyes to new perspectives on the education system and art itself. I have learned that teachers and principals are continuously trying to make learning more intriguing and enjoyable for all of their students. Teachers spend time working with each other, and are, in a way, still learning to teach their students. Art seems to become more and more important in schools as the years go by. Schools are noticing how art is not only a way of expression, but also a form of therapy and can make a student’s busy life a little less stressful.
Conducting interviews about our schools has empowered me to really try to stand up for what I believe in. The people who explained how schools and school districts can help them by supporting them with materials and less strict policies showed me that we need more than we think. We need everyone to get together as a whole and try to make a change to the education system and help everyone so we can all have equal access to create and express freely and without judgment.