Episode 17: This is Us

It’s the end of another school year. Today our seniors will graduate and they’ll experience the joy of their community coming together to celebrate this huge accomplishment and then, after all the partying, after all the dinners, they’ll begin a new phase in their lives.

Congratulations class of 2018! We will miss you. LAHSA will miss you.

This is our final episode of season 3. Like it’s been our tradition for the past two seasons, this final episode is dedicated to the individual stories of the staff of the Four-O-Eight. So much of their time they have spent it exploring the stories of other students, of other lives, and now it’s their turn. And, boy, do we have an episode for you.

Yrah Rayos del Sol is a happy soul. She can make you smile and laugh with her silliness and her energy. She’s a great actor, a talented singer and, overall, a strong human being. In this first segment Yrah shares a story that demonstrates this strength and also gives us a peek into the world that surrounds her and from where she grabs her strength.

Kayla Ybarra is a natural story-teller. From the moment I met her I knew she would be an asset to the AP Lit class because of the passionate way she speaks about reading and literature in general. I have seen Kayla’s strength and courage. I have learned about the obstacles that she’s had to overcome, that she continues trying to overcome. In this next segment Kayla shares a story that she comes back to, again, and again, like how we come back to the things that are difficult and exhausting to unravel.

Every time my students do this assignment I am reminded of everything they carry with them as they make their way through life. I am always amazed by their strength and courage and their ability to survive. And I’m also reminded of how important it is for help to be available for them to deal with the, sometimes, emotional trauma they carry, that it’s not enough to simply acknowledge their pain as if the simple act of adults knowing is of any consolation or of any help. In this next segment, Sally Melchor talks about the importance of talking, of solving, of not letting things fester.

Tanya Mendoza is one of those students with whom you always want to have conversations. She’s lively, smart, kind and she’s paid attention to her eighteen years in this planet.  She has no problem challenging any views she disagrees with but she’s also open minded and very willing to have her mind changed on any topic (if your arguments make sense). I’ve had my share of conversations with her but her segment for this episode surprised me. Here’s Tanya with her story:

High school friendships are important, I think. You learn about yourself through your interaction with people and high school is when you’re starting to pay attention to who you are, you know, to the nuance of you. In this next segment Reyna Morales discusses friendship, what it has meant for her and how her views have evolved in the last year.

Carlos Garcia is a quiet dude. He always seems lost in thought, as if he’s contemplating the meaning of all that surrounds him. He’s one of those kids I wish I would have had more conversations with, more time to bond. In this next segment, Carlos shares the power of dreams and how dreams can sometimes be powerful allies in life.

I can’t think of Bryant Hernandez and not think of music. It’s impossible. I think that’s true for anyone at LAHSA, students and faculty alike. You can tell by the way he is immersed in whatever is playing in his headphones that when he is listening to music he is in the music and that everything outside his head has blurred. In this next segment, Bryant explores this and lets us peek into this world in which he belongs.

I want to thank the entire staff of The Four-O-Eight for all their hard work and dedication to this Podcast. You are amazing human beings and we’re gonna miss you here at LAHSA. I can’t wait to see you walk the stage tonight. You’re gonna have so much fun.