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A Reflection on Resilience (Draft)

(Note: This is a draft of the article that will be submitted into Yearbook)


Introduction

Sayings like “never give up!” or “continue chasing your dreams!” are drawn-out and feel cliche to most of us. They are relatively easy to say, but hard to put into practice 100% of the time. Every protagonist in any flagship movie or novel shouts these phrases of resilience over and over, and as an audience, we see these heroes and feel like they are beyond us–sorts of ideals to strive towards. And yet, during quarantine and the period thereafter, the general student populace of Otay Ranch has shown a magnanimous amount of resilience rivaling those heroes we see on screen.

The importance of resilience cannot be overstated in today's fast-paced, ever-changing world. With constant demands from work, school, and personal life, it's easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged. In this context, sayings like "never give up" and "keep chasing your dreams" may feel cliche, but they can serve as powerful reminders of the importance of staying resilient. In recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantine have tested the resilience of individuals and communities worldwide. However, in the midst of these challenges, the students of Otay Ranch High School have shown remarkable resilience, demonstrating the power of a positive mindset in the face of adversity.


The Power of Thoughts

As Marcus Aurelius famously said, "The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts." This statement holds true, especially during times of isolation and poor mental health. It's easy to slip into negative thinking patterns and assume that our lives will never improve. However, this mindset can profoundly impact our actual performance and outcomes. Otay Ranch students have been able to remain resilient despite the trials that have come their way, which has been critical to their academic and athletic success.


Academics and Sports

Otay Ranch High School boasts an impressive record of academic achievement, with a graduation rate of 98% which places it within the top 5% of California schools. Furthermore, the school ranks in the top 20% in major testing, math, and reading, a remarkable achievement for a public high school in Chula Vista. This academic success can be attributed to the resilience of the students who have continued to push themselves, despite any obstacles they may have encountered.

In addition to academic success, Otay Ranch's athletic achievements are equally impressive. Despite being trapped in their homes for an extended period, the boys' Cross Country team emerged stronger than ever, occupying all the top ten places in the 2021 CSF, an unprecedented feat in the competition's history. Moreover, Otay Ranch's athletic program offers a wide variety of competitive sports that provide an outlet for students to channel their resilience and determination.


The Return from Quarantine

The return to in-person learning after quarantine was met with enthusiasm and positivity from the Otay Ranch student body. Students were eager to reconnect with their friends and teachers, and many expressed their joy at being able to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities once again. This positive outlook demonstrates the resilience of the students, who were able to adapt to the changes brought about by quarantine and emerge stronger and more determined than ever.

“I was ecstatic to see my friends again after such a long period of isolation and loneliness.” - Casey Pablo

Some people were homesick and hated staying at home for an extended period of time,

“It was great to be able to talk to my teachers face to face in person again!” - Dylan Lusung

“I wanted to do sports again in person” - Anonymous

“Coming back to school was a lot easier than expected. Most of the assignments were lighter than they would have been if covid had never occurred. Teachers were also much more lenient”. - Edison Wu

“Although the time spent at home was relaxing at first, it became tedious and boring quickly. I’m honestly so glad we’re back now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” - Anelina Pimentel


Conclusion

Otay Ranch High School serves as an inspiration to others, demonstrating the power of resilience and a positive mindset. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, the students of Otay Ranch have continued to excel academically and athletically, achieving remarkable success in both areas. Their ability to control their thoughts and emotions, and to maintain a stoic mindset in times of adversity, has been critical to their success. Otay Ranch High School's resilience is a powerful reminder that anything is possible with determination and a positive outlook.


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