Claude Kingsley-William ’24
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I chose to go to Menlo because of the large variety of interesting and challenging courses that Menlo has to offer, along with teachers who were always willing to help students learn, no matter the situation. I knew that I would stay engaged in my classes because of new material that I would learn in different forms like class discussions, seminars, debates and more. I knew Menlo had a great sports program, where I would get to play against challenging opponents and meet people on my team who I now know as my friends. I feel like there are so many opportunities to succeed at Menlo not just academically, but athletically as well, and this is why I chose to go to Menlo.
What I most enjoy about attending Menlo is being able to hang out with my friends every day. Last year, I was able to find a group of friends who had a lot of the same interests as me and were in similar extracurriculars and classes. In a school like Menlo, it is so helpful and amazing to put yourself out there and make friends. They help you with homework, introduce you to others, and make class periods more exciting and enjoyable. I think Menlo is a school where anyone can find a place where they belong, like a club, a sport, classes and so on. I feel excited to come to school everyday because I know that with my friends it will be fun!
I think my main challenge at Menlo has been asking for help. In my prior years to Menlo, I did not struggle with asking for help. However, in my freshman year, I felt as though asking questions meant I was falling behind the class. As a result, I lost points on problems on homework and tests which I could have gotten right with just asking questions. Thankfully, I figured it out quickly and this did not continue as a trend. As I start my sophomore year, I know that not asking questions and for help is something that I can’t let happen, and that by asking for help I am setting myself up for success.
Some of the extracurricular activities I have been able to explore include football and journalism. Though I wanted to do more, in a year where COVID-19 restricted us from even going to school, doing several different extracurriculars proved to be challenging, while also traveling a considerable distance to school. I’m grateful for the two activities I was able to do. They provided me an outlet from the stress of doing school in a COVID world. In journalism, I was able to voice my opinion and write about issues that arise in school. It also allowed me to reflect on our community. In football, I was able to hang out with friends after school while playing one of the sports that I love. I’m hopeful that I will be able to explore more extracurriculars in my future years at Menlo.
So far my favorite class has been Modern World History. It is a course where we investigate numerous countries within several time periods and how the unfortunate events that occurred in those places began, and consequently intensified from there. The essays and analysis of these events forced us to reflect on the actions of both our countries and ourselves and use what we had learned and apply it to any situation we found ourselves in, and then navigate it with a fully developed perspective. Moreover, it was a class where information was not just being given, but properly discussed and analyzed as we attempted to understand what we had learned, and this is what I believe this what separates bad and good courses, and it’s probably why I enjoyed this class so much( this is also thanks to my teacher Ms.Ballantyne). I also really enjoy humanities in general so my opinion might be a bit biased.
I think what makes the Menlo community special for me is how open everyone is. I came into Menlo as a Freshman who didn’t know any of the kids who were in my grade so it was quite intimidating trying to get the courage to talk to others. In my head I made up reasons for why I might get picked on. Cliche, yet an unavoidable situation that I had to face. Moreover, when I eventually did find myself in a conversation with others, I found that they were always willing to listen to what I had to say, and made me feel welcome in group conversations with the other students in my grade, and this started from the very first time I talked with Menlo students in Kickstart. Quite contrary to my initial predictions. The open nature of Menlo allowed me to get out of the shell I would have been hiding in the duration of school while in person, and eventually allowed me to gain friends at Menlo.