Generations Walk the Same Halls

The reflections of a current El Modena student who is attending their parent’s alma mater.

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The street sign depicts the journey through high school, as others have traveled this same path and ended at their destination.

On the first day of the 2016-2017 school year, 660 freshmen and all returning El Modena students step into classrooms filled with nervous energy. Freshmen for the first time, and others with a sense of unknown, face a new schedule, new teachers and new experiences. Select students, such as eleventh grader Justin Ellis, has a parent who previously attended El Modena and has grown up with stories about his father’s high school alma mater. Ellis makes a connection between his father’s time at El Modena and his, as he states, “teachers and classes have definitely changed,” but, “my dad says that the school looks exactly like what it did when he was in school.” The school built in 1967 has since created a large El Modena community where in addition to several second generation El Modena students, current teachers Mr. Finn and Dr. Chapman return to teach where they once roamed the halls as students.

The nervous energy from students starting the school year subsides when they acknowledge that many former students have gone back to teach at El Modena or enrolled their own students to preserve and continue the Vanguard community with its strong values, academics, and athletics. With this, Ellis reflects on the special connection his father and he has gained through these circumstances by stating, “it is really cool to know my dad [and uncles] went to the same school I am attending,” and, “also really interesting to look at old [El Modena] yearbooks to see what my dad looked like when he was my age.”

High school is a pivotal time in one’s life as commonly seen in pop culture and specific movies, such as Clueless and Grease, with students often portrayed as confused high schoolers seeking their identity and forming impactful relationships with peers. Any high school graduate can tell you how high school creates your trajectory for the future. Since Ellis’ dad has attended El Modena many technological advancements have been made enhancing students’ learning, such as select classroom laptops and updated reading materials, introduced in the 2016-2017 school year. The El Modena community hopes to continue on this pathway of enhancing students’ learning by passing a bond to renovate the school and create a more motivating and technologically advanced environment. If the El Modena community is able to pass the bond Ellis will be able to walk down the same hallway as his father with a new laptop instead of textbooks, creating a new set of possibilities.

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