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Relective Essay

Personal Qualities, Work Habits and Attitudes

It wasn’t until I started school at ACLC in eighth grade that I understood what motivation means as a student and as a developing person. This school lead me to see just how far my drive will take me. ACLC’s emphasis on self-motivation and taking control over each one’s own education has been my guiding model for the past five years. When I first stepped onto the campus, I was a timid and self-conscious middle schooler who didn’t know what it meant to have freedom over my education. Within just the first few weeks of school, I noticed how many opportunities the older learners seemed to be taking full advantage of. I was inspired and motivated to become someone who would be up for challenges and new opportunities.  I wanted to learn how to lead projects and events, organize myself, and work with my peers and facilitators to take control of my education. This mindset has allowed me to go beyond the basic subjects and lessons taught in traditional schools.  I applied myself in extracurricular activities that I would have been too shy to participate in before. I excelled in my classes and was able to reach beyond high school math classes by continuing my education at local community colleges.  It’s because of my exposure to the vibrant make-it-happen attitude of ACLC that I’ve accomplished as much personally and educationally as I have.


New Basics

In my time in ACLC, I’ve been encouraged to form opinions and connections from classroom lessons to the world around me. For the past two years, our reading material in English has been tied to the time periods being discussed in History. If we were studying ancient Greek and Roman cultures in one class, we were reading Oedipus in the other. The relevance that one class has to another has allowed me to appreciate and understand multiple aspects of historic societies. I’ve learned how art and literature have influenced popular culture since their very beginnings.  These revelations have helped me recognize not just how our current world has been shaped, but why, and what that means for our future. I’ve brought this education and perspective with me during local public forums, social debates, and on the global scene when learning first- hand about some Middle Eastern conflicts. In Physics, my classmates and I were able to assess our knowledge of laws of nature by testing them when building model rollercoasters. The strong emphasis that ACLC puts on discovering connections and relating to our modern and historic world has taught me to recognize the different factors that make up every situation.


Thinking and Reasoning Skills

One of the most important qualities that makes ACLC stand out is its emphasis on taking control over one’s education. During my five years here, I’ve become metacognitive to understand how I learn. As a learner, I’ve had the freedom to choose how to best understand the material. Knowing how I operate and what resonates with me has helped me with multiple projects. One example is when I organized a day of community service for Jewish youth in the East Bay. I had the opportunity to visualize my own outcome for the event as it had never been lead solely by a teen before. I knew from past school projects how to prioritize the details for the event and what was feasible. I had full creative power to set a new standard of the event for the years to come. Because I knew how to handle projects involving other people, deadlines, and creative thinking, I was able to run a smooth event that engaged over 100 teens in my area in community service projects.  


Interpersonal and Collaborative Ability

ACLC offers learners the most opportunities for collaboration that I have ever seen. Every year I’ve considered the annual science fair project to be a solitary task. Last year, however, I saw opportunity with a more complicated project that would exceed what I’d done in previous years. Because of its complexity, I was granted the ability to work with a partner. My partner and I were able to delegate and collaborate in order to complete the project. I can directly trace my ability to manage our time and keep us both on task to the group projects I’ve worked on in ACLC. My time in the Center is often filled with working with my peers to create anything from model roller coasters to plans for the weekly CCC.  My relationships within the project  groups has not only brought me great friends, but also an understanding of how to be a part of a team and reach a common goal.



Technology is only a constant if considered as constantly changing. I’ve come to recognize the importance of using the materials available to us through technology. Over the years, I’ve tried to acquaint myself with applications and software for schoolwork and projects. Because of the attention to and availability of technology at ACLC, I’ve learned to use different techniques that will continue to aid me for the rest of my life. I’ve laid the foundation of using different softwares and programs from Photoshop to Google Drive to Microsoft Excel that, even as they change, will always be a useful skill. With Google Drive, for example, I’ve already organized projects and events like the logistics for a teen leadership conference. The various applications available through the Drive allowed me to bring my ideas and those of my peers to fruition. Using the same program, more recently I was able to construct the basis for grouping logistics, people, and various other detail together for my senior project: Hannah Camp. I used Google Forms with my co-head counselors to create a new standard of counselor applications.   Now that I know many of the basics for such useful programs, I’m excited to continue learning their different applications and apply them to even more areas of my life.

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