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Little Families Everywhere

By Aiko ’23

215 kids. Two years go by and the numbers crawl up to 290. These are the people you spend seven hours (minimum) with five days a week, for four, even six years. These are the people you start your most influential stage of life with, and will walk down the field of fake grass to get your cap and gown with. 

If you’re reading this, likely after scrolling through the dozens of amazing blogs put up by people I’m lucky to call my classmates, and somehow scrolled far enough to stumble across this one, you’re probably aware of the amazing academics, extracurricular and club opportunities Harvard-Westlake offers. You’re probably on this blog for that very reason; for the bajillions of truly extraordinary avenues HW has, the ones we can brag about on an application in one sentence. 

No one applies to a school, or takes a job (I assume) solely for the people. Our decisions are our own, guided by our own self-interest and passions we pursue. But the people at HW are what makes it a special place, the people we find in every avenue we pursue. 

The 215 kids that we see on the first day of Fast Start, or the 290 we see on the first day of ninth grade, swarming the locker area, are overwhelming at first. I came from a small school without any close friends; a situation more people were in than I had realized. I wondered how I could make friends with everyone, how I could make friends with anyone in the first place. 

First off, in any grade you’re coming into, know that people are always looking to make connections. They are desperate to find more people to share memories with and lean on when the stress gets a bit overwhelming. 

Second, and most important, is the beauty of diversity that comes with such a big grade. I’m not just talking about skin color, gender identity, or sexual orientation–the words that typically float to mind with the word diversity. I’m talking about the range of different interests each student pursues and the unique mixes and matches of the passions each person chooses to explore. 

I came to HW with some background in dance, a bit of mediocre ballet training and a couple contemporary classes. I didn’t get into the Dance Production company in eighth grade, and maybe only got in because of the whole second-time-around thing in ninth grade (kidding, hopefully). Regardless, the dance program gave me more than I could have ever asked for. Even before I started the company, the two years in Contemporary Dance Workshop I and II created a community that would be there for me when I was on top of the world or when I couldn’t stop falling (quite literally). When, in ninth grade, I joined the company, I gained a true family. The after school rehearsals from November leading up to our show in March let us become a true team, bonded in that Bing hallway. Although our year was cut short, my heart aches for the studio that became my safe haven, and the fourteen of us who danced through it all. 

Whether you already know what you want to do beyond the classroom for the next six, or four years, or you don’t (which was me, and like 90% of the grade), the people you are forced in a pool, classroom, field, or studio with are the people who will grow to be your family. Whatever you choose to pursue at this school, trust that it will give you your very own home within the 22 acres, and a special family amongst the 290. 

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Tags: , Last modified: October 13, 2020