Cajon High School

Students drive San Bernardino community initiatives

Many people believe the false beliefs about my city are based on an incident. People including the President-elect Donald Trump has stated such misconceptions.The mass murder of lives last December especially impacted the people of the city. The incident even reportedly had opinions from both presidential candidates at the time.

The Washington Post reported a fact check about Trump when he made a baseless claim during the second presidential debate. He stated that, “In San Bernardino, many people saw bombs all over the apartment”. Such a statement is not only unfounded, but portrays the lack of understanding of how such an issue took place and its implications.

Now more than ever, news organizations focus on news that only portray events that have a negative impact rather than focusing on the positive contributions. After the horrendous shooting in December 2015, the people of the city have come together to make a difference.

Cajon is only one of the many schools in the city that continues to make such an impact. Recently, the school underwent a renovation project sponsored by student representatives for their respective clubs. Thejoey-cleaning-lawny participated in activities including: removing litter from the school’s lawns, gum stains, and any trash that was found inside the campus.

One of the students, Alberto Cazares, was one of the main participants for the event. He wanted to represent as a member of the school’s fitness club. Alberto found that the event impacted his viewpoint about making sure that school environments are clean especially considering the current number of students attending.

He realized that from such a volunteering experience, he contributed to one of the multiple issues in pollution and its harms on the world. It continues to give him the inspiration to continue volunteering even after graduating from Cajon and will continue his initiatives with other individuals.

The renovation project is only one of the many differences that our school makes in the community. Many positive acts are gone unnoticed or do not have enough emphasis. There must be a change.

Our school has connections with major volunteer organizations so students can contribute. The program, Teens make a difference!, annually recognizes students who are passionate about helping their community. The program allows students to be appreciated for not only their efforts in the community, but serve as role models. The assembly not only brings students together, but also allows the school district’s board members of the San Bernardino school district to describe the importance of contributing towards their local areas. Students were not only honored by the number of hours they donated, but their representation for their respective school.

The beauty of such volunteer organizations not only help recognize students for their achievement, but encourage members of the city to do the same. Such events can help bring a positive perspective of high school students that are mostly underrepresented.

I had the opportunity to speak with one of the students who received the award in her freshman year and now senior, Calena Aaang. She remarked how students’ recognition is important towards encouraging such activities to occur within a community, and can have a positive impact against many of the stereotypes that people have of high school students.

Aaang described how her experiences and time in her participation for Key Club has helped her have a positive attitude and consideration for others. Aang not only believes that her participation in her volunteering experiences make her feel appreciated, but broadens her social interaction.

Her experiences with others were not limited by her school, but by having the chance to understand the rich history and culture that the San Bernardino community has. Her various volunteering experiences for the downtown’s McDonald Museum has given her the ability to speak with diverse kinds of people and even veterans.

The experiences helped her be more aware about the city before instances of gang violence and economy. She was reminded of San Bernardino as a place with such an immersive history and not burdened by the amount of negative publicity now.

These students have confronted many obstacles, yet continue to persevere.