Written by Joshua Corona
Cesar E. Chavez Learning Academies is home to four independent high schools located on a single campus. Each campus has its own curricular program and bell schedule. When created, its intention was to have their own students, teachers, principal, counselors, etc. Each school functions exactly how they planned for when the schools were dreamed of and designed, which translates into doing essentially everything on their own and as far as possible from what the other three academies choose to focus on, educationally speaking. As a student and athlete on this complicated, hybrid campus, my concern is that our students are at a complete disadvantage as each of these academies has contributed to the created culture that isolates its students to be kept within their academies and centers on identifying themselves as an academy rather than a member of the school as a whole in which we share.
Instead of choosing to go out and meet others and acknowledge the fact that we are here on a campus together, students have organically fashioned and enforced barriers that have cushioned them to stay in the cave of comfort that is their academy, growing more spirit and heart for their academy rather than their actual school. As a result, many boast about their graduation rates or state test scores and use these educational weapons to create a sense of superiority over other academies, creating a rivalry and somewhat entitled persona on campus.
We all have been deprived of the full high school experience as we lack unity in regard to the larger CCLA school spirit. Home games with half-empty stands and no noise for our sports teams during their games sends an uncomfortable sound. Currently, CCLA is a seven- year- old school that has had so much success with its sports programs in its first years of adolescence. This kind of thing is unheard of as our Girls’ Softball has won back to back CIF championships, our Boys’ Basketball team recently won a CIF Division 4 championship, and our Football team posting a limited-size roster year after year is consistently ranked high year after year in Division II in which they moved up into in a matter of 2 years.
As a student who is a member of CCLA’s football team, I have personally experienced how my teammates and I play at a disadvantage as we fail to have a sports period- a result of how everyone on our team go to one of the four academies. The absence of this sports period has forced us to find other ways to come together as a team and overcome the disadvantage we participate in every single week. We come in before school every day at 6:00 A.M. to make sure we aren’t passed up by our opponents as they don't face the same issues we have. This is not just about football but every sport on campus. We lack unity. We lack school spirit. We lack a true school as a whole. Teachers as well as administration might not understand this as they are not the students at CCLA who experience their days isolated in one academy and its students. Sports is the only way we are allowed to meet others and come together. But without sports, our school as a whole would be divided.