As I run to class with my Starbucks in one hand, and my AP World History book in the other, I trip over a chord plugged into the outlet for the cameras filming some movie. I run through the main entrance to the school and above me is the motto, “Enter to Learn — Go Forth for Service” which has stood at the entrance since the school was opened in 1928. I run past the band room, where the sound of drums and clarinets fill my ears, and the choir room, where I hear beautiful harmonies emanating from the students. I keep running while my backpack feels heavier and heavier, and I pass the gym, where the athletes laugh at my lack of coordination in attempting to make it to class before the bell. Finally, I run through the auditorium and catch a slight preview of the upcoming play. I rush into class and take a seat while my teacher gives me the evil eye for just barely beating the tardy bell, and I drink what’s left of my half spilled coffee. This is how my day begins at El Segundo High School.
Before I continue to introduce you to El Segundo High School (ESHS), let me begin by introducing myself. I am Cece Jane, I am 16 years old, and am a sophomore at this wonderful high school. This school has introduced me to many things that I never could have imagined, and I am extremely grateful to be able to attend it. For one, ESHS offers various classes to fit all students’ interests. It also offers many honors and AP classes for the students who wish to challenge themselves. For instance, there is Photography, Sculpture, Band, Choir, Drama, Spanish, American Sign Language, Art, as well as a sundry amount of sports, Yearbook, Computer Science, and much more. Having many classes and options to choose from makes our school more fun, and lets students look forward to learning.
But not only does ESHS have wonderful classes and teachers, it also happens to be beautiful. In fact, it is the most photographed/filmed school in America! Los Angeles architects, Alfred W. Rea and Charles E. Garstang, designed the building in a style meant to emulate the classic design of buildings at Ivy League schools. Almost everyone can recognize ESHS because of it being featured in so many television shows and movies like Superbad, WarGames, Joe Dirt, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Boston Public, The Hot Chick, Yours, Mine and Ours, Even Stevens, 24, Joan of Arcadia, The O.C., Room 222, Epic Movie, Shredderman Rules, Blackboard Jungle, Medium, 90210, and much more. ESHS is frequently being filmed while we are attending school, and this is interesting because we get to see a little glimpse of what making movies are like. I mean, we do live in LA-LA Land, we should be able to understand show business. This exposure to show business might be why ESHS has such talented performing arts students. The drama students put on amazing plays that make the audience feel like they are seeing a play on Broadway in our brand new performing arts auditorium. We have an award-winning choir that performed at the last summer Olympics. The band is also award winning, and I must say more impressive than many college bands. But the great thing about all of this is not just the beautiful outcome, but the families created through the process of practicing together. As a band student, Elijah Day, states, “I never would have known half of the people I know now if it wasn’t for the band.” ESHS does not just produce amazing productions, it produces a home away from home.
You know that feeling when your favorite team has 10 seconds to make a comeback? The crowd is yelling and screaming for their team. This is what every sports event feels like at ESHS. That is because the entire little town of El Segundo, which is only 17,000 people in total, comes out to support our high school teams, the Blue and Gold Eagles. The football season is a prime example of our Eagle Pride. The stands of our state-of-the-art stadium are packed every single game rooting on our football team. This year we went 10-0 going into CIFs, but the stands are packed with people from our neighborhood whether we are 10-0 or 0-10. Not only is our football team great, but also we have wonderful teams in water polo, volleyball, track and field, swimming, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, cross country and basketball. Students show up to games or competitions for every sport. It helps to know that our teams are amazing as well. ESHS has had many students go on to college baseball, football, and basketball, some turn professional.
So what is El Segundo? We are a small school of 1,250 students, most of us live within the one square mile that makes up the town of El Segundo, bordered by LAX to the North, Manhattan Beach to the South, Sepulveda Blvd to the East, and the Pacific Ocean to the West. We are one of the South Bay Beach Cities. We are part of the El Segundo Unified School District, which consists of one high school, one middle school, and two elementary schools. Since we all live so close, almost everyone walks or bikes to school. We are a throwback to the times when kids waked to school and everyone knows everyone along the way. In fact many kid’s parents and grandparents went to ESHS! El Segundo High School of today was awarded “California Distinguished High School,” in 2003 and 2007. U.S. News and World Report awards a gold ranking to us nationwide, which is only awarded to the top 2% of public high schools. We are often referred to in the press as the “Mayberry by the Sea,” but most of us most us proudly tell people that we are from GUNDO.
So, with my story complete, I grab my books and stuff them into my already full backpack, I tie my shoes, and I carefully walk around the film crew as they begin to pack up. The sun slowly begins to set, and there is a bright pink sky while I can smell the ocean. The school day is over. I look at my beautiful school, and begin to walk home. This is our school, this is GUNDO.