A Brown and Gold Kaleidoscope
May 24, 2012 by Becca Hansen
Being part of the rewarding experience that is the TJ community.
During the time between starting high school and ending high school a person grows and changes in exponential ways. However, 35,063 hours of high school later, I still have the same problem I had four years ago: there isn’t enough time in the day. As much as I wish I could eliminate sleeping or somehow make the clock have more hours, it simply isn’t going to happen. I am left with the same choice everyday: how will I spend my time?
This problem began four years ago walking down the TJ hallways reading posters that exclaimed ‘Join today!’ and ‘Tryouts start Monday!’ all encouraging me to join a club, sport, or activity. At that time, I had no intention of joining anything, feeling no desire to. I’m not exactly sure how that changed, but it did. By the end of freshman year, I was part of student council, number one academically in our class, a varsity tennis player, and needless to say I felt a strong urge to become a part of everything.
My deepest appreciation for TJ has grown to be its unique environment that allows students to do precisely that: become part of everything. At TJ students can play a sport that they’ve never played before, learn to play an instrument, learn to create computer programs or use a high-tech camera. TJ truly allows kids to try everything, find what they like and don’t like, realize their own potential, and ultimately find themselves.
I have found myself at TJ though community. I have been a part of many things during my time at TJ, and yet I have barely scratched the surface. With all the possibilities at TJ, I could stay another year to participate in all the classes, sports, and clubs I didn’t get to. The fact that there are so many combinations of possibilities at TJ allows everyone to learn and grow from each other.
In taking Newspaper my junior and senior years I have gotten the ultimate opportunity to learn and grow from others. I have had the chance to interview and get to know many different people and a variety of different parts of TJ. From the Chess Club to the Theater Department to SkillsUSA, I have had the chance to peak into parts of TJ I never knew about and share them with the entire TJ community, which it turns out is a whole lot bigger than 1,100 students.
Possibly my favorite memory of high school was homecoming this year, celebrating the dedication of the field to Dr. Herman Motz. Being able to take part in the ceremony is when it really hit me: TJ is not just the 1,100 students who go here now. The TJ community is made up of all the students who have ever gone here, all the teachers who have ever taught here, and all the parents associated. Looking out at the crowd during the ceremony, generations of Spartans were visible. People who attended TJ decades ago are still part of the community and still love everything that is TJ. These people seemed to understand exactly what TJ is now, even if they hadn’t been here for years. It was the most overwhelming sense of community I have ever felt.
Though TJ is a small school, it is a large force to be reckoned with. The community extends from the Olympic games, to news media outlets, even all the way to the mayor’s office. It is amazing the directions people—who were in our exact shoes—have gone and the accomplishments they have made. They have set the bar pretty high for those of us graduating now.
If TJ has taught me one thing, it’s that the best way to learn about myself is to learn about others. Though I still only have 24 hours in a day to get everything done, I now know a little better how I plan to spend my time. I plan to go out of my way to learn more about others, serve others, and find myself through being a part of the new communities I join. No matter how far away from TJ I go and how many years pass by, I will always be a Spartan and always wear the pride of our community.