How Attending An Alternative School Changed My Life

How Attending An Alternative School Changed My Life

Attending an alternative school can really help change someone's life.

Many people in America have at least attended high school. Whether it be a public high school or a private high school. Not many people have attended an alternative high school. I was one of those students who went to the alternative high school, known as Castleton, in my hometown of Oceanside, New York. A one hallway school located on the third floor of the district's kindergarten center. Castleton has no more than 60 students at a time and they all range from freshmen to seniors. The three years I spent there were three of the best years of my life. Castleton helped me overcome my anxiety, and helped me control my emotions through not only classroom lessons but life lessons as well. The bonds I made with the students and faculty will last with me forever.

In my freshman year of high school, I was not the best student. I had a reputation for lashing out at my teachers as well as classmates. I struggled with anxiety, and even at one point depression. Over the course of the school year I was constantly called into the Deans office, which was never fun for any student. Around the month of April, my anxiety got increasingly worse. I started acting out more and was even suspended from school multiple times. Eventually, after too many outbursts I was no longer permitted to take the New York State Regents Exams in school, I was now required to take them with a tutor in a separate location. The school year ended and my status as a student was in limbo. My last chance was to attend Castleton.

During the summer in between my freshman, and sophomore years of high school I was scheduled to have an interview with the principal, and some faculty members of the alternative school. I went to the meeting, angry, and not willing to give anyone the time of day. I sat with my head down as my dad answered questions that were meant for me. I eventually got up and left the meeting before it was even over. I was accepted into the school with what my teachers said was one of the most memorable interviews they have ever had.

Sophomore year began the same way my freshman year ended, terribly. I felt as if I did not fit in, and I felt like no one liked me very much, which in a small school is very hard to deal with because you cannot really avoid anyone. There is always one person that comes to mind when I think about how I did not get along with some of my fellow students at first. My good friend Nick and I always butted heads. Eventually, though I started to make friends with everyone, including Nick. In fact, most of the people who were at Castleton my sophomore year became my closest friends. Not only was I able to make strong connections with the students, I also made everlasting bonds with my teachers as well. Thanks to the very small class sizes at Castleton the teachers were able to take the time to actually get to know you. They gave all of us not only school lessons, but life lessons. They did not just teach us how to do equations, or write essays, they taught us how to believe in ourselves, to do what makes us happy, and to never let anyone tell us what we can, and cannot do.

My Junior and Senior years at Castleton were two of the best years of my young life. The only rough point I remember was when our beloved science teacher, Mr. Wrobel, tragically passed away in September of my junior year. This tragedy brought all of us together and made us all closer with one another. We held our heads high and kept pushing forward towards our goals. That is what Mr. Wrobel would’ve wanted us all to do. After that experience, I took it upon myself to better manage my anxiety and use all of the resources at my disposal to reach my goals in life. Junior year ended and senior year went off without a hitch. I honestly do not even remember any important moments or significant events that occurred during my final year at Castleton. Maybe it is because compared to the other two years nothing big really happened.

Thanks to Castleton, and the alternative school experience, I was able to overcome the things that plagued my freshman year and graduated knowing that I can accomplish my goals as long as I work hard, and I always ask for help when I need it. Because of the close comradery I had with not only my fellow students but also the faculty members, I felt my anxiety all but disappear. I can never thank the people of Castleton enough for what they have done for me over the course of my life.

Cover Image Credit: Rebecca Richter

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Live Music Is Better Than Pre-Recorded Music

Have you ever been in an arena with 15,000 people singing along to your favorite songs? It gives me goosebumps every time.

As an avid concert goer myself, sometimes going to two or more per month, I fully believe that hearing music live is way better than listening to it on Spotify.

First off, if you’re going to hear it live, you’re more than likely going with a friend. What’s better than being at the barricade singing along to your favorite songs? Nothing! Being with my best friends at a concert for an artist we all love dearly has grown to be one of my happy places.

Second, you get to hear things live that you’ll never get to hear with a pre-recorded track. Something that’s pre-recorded is the same thing over and over again, you can never change it, but with live music, it’s different every time. Some bands that I’ve seen throw in extra guitar solos or drum solos and even climb into the audience to let fans sing into their microphones, which is something you don’t get to hear on pre-recorded tracks.

There is no autotune at a concert, and if the artist is really good, they sound just like they do on the pre-recorded track. All Time Low is a great example of this - and if you haven’t seen them live, I highly recommend that you do! They are one of my favorite bands and they put on an amazing show whether it’s your first one or your one hundredth.

Acoustic songs and hearing the crowd sing the song right back is something that will always give me chills, especially big arena shows with more than 15,000 people in attendance. Nothing warms my heart more than knowing that thousands of people are there together for one night to do one thing - sing their hearts out to their favorite artists.

Getting the chance to possibly meet the artist is another added benefit of live music that I like to throw in. If you don’t have meet and greet, most artists will usually meet fans in the back by the busses! It’s one of the most exciting things about the after-concert, hoping they’ll come out and say hello.

I could go on forever about why live music is better than pre-recorded, but if I had to pick a reason over everything, I would say the memories of live music.

Sure, I can capture them on my phone and re-watch them later, but nothing beats being there with your friends and listening to all your favorite songs unfold in front of you. Nothing beats screaming the lyrics and forgetting about everything stressful in your life for awhile.

My next concert is not until June and I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do until then. Attending concerts is one of my favorite past times, and this year, my friends and I will be traveling to see quite a few shows, which I can’t wait for.

Next time you attend a live show, think of all of these things discussed in this article and ask yourself which you prefer: live music or pre-recorded?

Cover Image Credit: Megan Courtney

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11 Of The Best 'Powerpuff Girls' Quotes

Sugar, spice, and everything nice

Growing up, the Powerpuff Girls was one of my favorite television shows. I spent a lot of time with my sister and cousin, watching and re-watching episodes, and running around pretending to be the amazing super-heroines we looked up to. When I watch the show again at age 20, I realize how funny, clever, and insightful some of the lines are. If you grew up watching the Powerpuff girls and you need a laugh, these 11 quotes are sure to remind you of the three wonderful girls who save the day, as well as their friends (and enemies)!

1. Bubbles: "There's nothing wrong with talking to yourself."

2. Blossom: "I'm not boring! I'm a... a fiery redhead! And who made Bubbles the cute one? I'm cute! Look at this bow!"

3. Mojo Jojo: "Annoying little girl, you must wait your turn, in which I am first and you are second, which, in essence, makes you last, since 1 is before 2."

4. Bubbles: "Goodness gracious! Sir, you are being slowly digested. We need to get you to a hospital."

5. Buttercup: "It takes a lot more than a couple of cheap shots to make us cry."

6. Princess: "QUIET. Now listen. It doesn't matter that you've got your little gadgets, or that you're the ultimate evil. All that matters is that I destroy the Powerpuff Girls, which I will because I have the most powerful power in the whole wide world. COLD HARD CASH."

7. Talking Dog: "Well, I may be able to talk, but I sure as heck can't drive!"

8. Bubbles: "What are you doing in our closet, Mr. Mayor?"

Mayor: "You mean...we're not in my house?"

Buttercup: "Sorry, Mayor."

Mayor: "Well that explains all the cool furniture!"

9. HIM: "You see, the thing about gift giving is it's the thought that counts. And obviously, thinking isn't your strong point."

10. Brick: "If you're gonna do graffiti, at least spell the words right! Sheesh! Talk about dum-BUH."

11. Professor Utonium: "Hey, where's Bubbles?"

Buttercup: "She's probably upstairs combing her hair so she'll be the 'prettiest girl at the party'!"

Bubbles (upstairs, combing her hair): "I'm gonna be the prettiest girl at the party!"

Cover Image Credit: Randall Petersen: Flickr

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