Tag Archives: high school

A Typical Day in High School

27 Apr

(A Monday morning in high school. Two students are speaking to each other at a lunch table.)

STUDENT 1: Dude, my weekend was so crazy. I had a few kids over Saturday night, and things got pretty wild. (laughs)
STUDENT 2: Yeah, I had a pretty sick weekend, as well. I told, like, 20 kids to come over and it ended being about 150.
S1: My house was pretty trashed afterward. I spent all Sunday cleaning up. I’m pretty sure someone took my goldfish. They left the bowl and stuff, but the fish was just gone afterward.
S2: Same here. Someone did a belly flop out of a second floor window and shattered all of my patio furniture on the way down. I’m going to be grounded for months.
S1: Someone at my house brought a two-hundred foot hose to my house. During the party, I guess they ran it upstairs, hooked it up to the faucet outside and just started pumping water into my parents’ bedroom. Then, some other guy runs up the stairs with a bucket full of barely-alive fish, and he throws them all into the water and locks the door. The next day, after I waited for a lot of the water to leak down through the ceiling under the bedroom, I opened the door and it just reeked of stale water and dead fish. What a weekend.
S2: If you think that’s good, one of the kids that showed up to my house that night? Turns out, he’s a 46-year-old DEA agent who retired to live the life of his suspects. He moonlights as a street mime, and he has this beautiful motorcycle parked out front.
S1: Wait, what does the mime thing have to do with it?
S2: Absolutely nothing at all. So we get out to the motorcycle, and like clowns in a tiny car, we manage to cram thirteen kids on the bike at once. The mime guy just cranks the gas, and the next second we’re going 130 in a residential area. In a proud moment of defiance, some of us reach out and grab those plastic stand-up turtle things and embellish with all sorts of profane and anatomically-correct declarations of protest.
S1: I can top that. As I’m going outside to turn off the hose, one of the guests comes up to me and hands me a drink. I take one sip and I’m out like a light. I woke up hallucinating that I was the ham in a Cuban sandwich, so I’m so distracted and confused that I don’t realize where I am. A few minutes later, I realize I’m riding a statue of a horse in the middle of some bustling city square, and everyone around me is screaming and cheering in Spanish. Another few minutes, and I’m aware that I’m wearing full military garb from the waist up.
S2: Waist down?
S1: Moving on, I dismount the statue and start looking for the American embassy. As I’m looking for the embassy, the people in the streets just part like the seas in front of me, and they’re all just cheering “El capitán” as I walk past. The rest of the details are pretty foggy, but all I know is I woke up the next morning in my parents’ bed, wrapped up in the soaking sheets cozied up to a largemouth bass.
S2: I love the weekends.

Cathy Wern ’16. Admissions Essay at Bismarck University.

1 Mar

When I went to Costa Rica between my sophomore and junior years of high school to volunteer in a rural school, I thought  I would be teaching the children. But nothing compared to the messages they taught me. As I watched the kids trudge through eight miles of alligator-infested rainforest in dirty clothes, taking occasional sips from old jugs of brackish water, I instantly understood that I am very fortunate. I come from an excellent background and a wealthy, supportive family, the kind that can pay for my college education with no financial aid. As I saw kids reenacting sword fights with sticks through the window of the air-conditioned Range Rover, I learned that even in the face of a struggle, it is possible to love life and be happy. Did they fill themselves with apathy and whine about it as their indigenous culture disappeared at the hands of the white man? They most certainly did not. They smiled, filled their hearts with jubilation, euphoria, bliss, and joviality, and made the best of their situation. I like to call that life lesson “Costa Rican smiles.”

When I hiked Mt. Ranier with my youth group of blind, deaf, quadriplegic orphans, I committed to wearing a “Costa Rican smile” and made sure to encourage all of my hiking partners to enjoy the experience too. I forced my hiking teammates to overcome their physical and mental challenges as I dragged their entirely paralyzed bodies up the sheer ice faces of Mt. Ranier. I became a true leader that frigid day on the slopes, as I watched my impaired friends follow me on a path to achieving their goals. So when I got home and attended meetings for my Model UN, NCL, Debate, Student Council, Poetry, Computers and Technology, and Fashion Design clubs, I communicated with a louder voice and participated more. Younger members of the club began to ask me questions after club meetings like, “How do you balance your intelligence, athleticism, friendliness and inner beauty with your charity work?” or “How do you use your intelligence to become a leader in the community?” And I did it all with a “Costa Rican smile.”

I’m obviously a leader, and one with a passion for philanthropy. The fact that my parents sent me to Costa Rica to watch poor people for a week should convince you I am the perfect applicant for Bismarck University, and the sheer cookie-cutterness of my extracurriculars list should amaze you. For the last four years I have deliberately sold my soul to become the least interesting high-schooler in America, and I expect you to acknowledge this with an acceptance letter. Once again, they can pay.

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