Walking through the musty carpeted halls with carrot orange lockers and off-white cardboard walls, Whitney High School may seem like your average, everyday high school. But as a student there for four years now, I can assure you that Whitney is far from your normal high school.
Located in Cerritos, Calif., Whitney High School has recently been named the #1 high school in California, along with #33 nationally and #12 for STEM by US News.
Described as the “School of Dreams” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Edward Humes, Whitney contains some of the nation’s brightest and most talented students.
Students are extremely, focused, determined, competitive. But with that, comes the constant pressure and rigor that students force onto themselves. At Whitney, stacking up your schedule with the most difficult courses, busying yourself with dozens of extracurriculars, making the top 10 percent of your class and attending a top-tier college is simply EVERYTHING.
Along with the continuous stress and anxiety, Whitney is heavily STEM-based. Most students on campus are interested in STEM careers, evident by a great deal of participation in clubs such as Robotics and Red Cross. As a nationally recognized STEM school, Whitney tries its best to offer students with the most rigorous science, math, and technology classes available.
However, this type of environment often dampens ambitions for those interested in the humanities, who may find it difficult to engage in course and activities that align with their career paths/interests.
Once adjusted to these “Whitney ways,” I began to realize that though Whitney may not be your “perfect” movie high school experience, equips students with long-lasting bonds and experience which better-prepare them for college and their futures.
With small class sizes of about 150 students and a faculty of a little over 40 teachers, Whitney has a unique, diverse community where you can closely bond with your peers and teachers, which is something rarely found in modern-day public schools. Outside of the classroom, students have also made a name for themselves on the global platform through international conferences concerning Model UN, Robotics, etc. Students also have the opportunity to utilize state of the art equipment in the MAC lab including dozens of computers, cameras, set equipment, and advanced software.
Along with those, Whitney High School delivers high achievement, a sense of mission, and a love of learning, which is why the school has gone from a small-town school in Southern California to becoming one of the most renowned schools in locally, nationally and even internationally.
Regardless of the pressure and the stress, Whitney High School has provided me with so many valuable opportunities and relationships, which is why I am extremely proud to call myself a Wildcat.
Attending this school, you won’t have your Friday night football games, your stereotypical cliques, or even the opportunity to take French, but what you will get is a sense of place and belonging to something far greater than yourself for years to come.