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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The melting pot: a string of opportunities

One+of+my+favorite+memories+is+playing+guitar+in+the+trunk+of+the+car+while+watching+the+sun+set
Autumn VanSolkema
One of my favorite memories is playing guitar in the trunk of the car while watching the sun set

My dad is going into his twenty-seventh year of teaching.

Seven hours a day. Seven different class periods. Seven groups of students that, day after day, choose whether or not they want to learn—to be productive and build something meaningful, something worth their time, out of the opportunities placed under their noses.

And still, day after day, my dad comes home and rattles off the number of dozing heads he counted that rest, unmoving, on top of desks. He’s kept the abandoned, half-done attempts at art that lay without a pulse of creativity accumulate dust atop the unseen corner of a tall cabinet.

A high school art teacher, a man who’s expected to have answers, is continually learning to live himself. His most significant epiphany, one of many, is something he reminds the rest of the family of every so often: kids don’t learn the way they used to ten years ago. 

A simple enough answer to a life-long problem. 

In his eyes, people no longer obtain the discipline, the determination to better themselves in a way that doesn’t guarantee immediate feedback. 

Every day that he drags his schoolbag home with the flame of his electrical persona snuffed to a flicker only cements the promise I’ve made to myself. At no time do I want to be the person that extinguishes a teacher’s liveliness. 

I’ve continued to cram every ounce of my being even into the most trivial things, careful to acknowledge the slightest detail—even if it is sometimes at my own expense. 

I had to cautiously walk the steps of the pool before I could give it my all and jump in.

One of the only pastimes that willingly receives a copious amount of my effort is my dedication to music; fortunately, it’s one of the very few things that doesn’t have drawbacks. My opportunity didn’t arrive with the decision to take a music class. In reality, my realization came years after. With orchestra being the first and only professional education I’ve had regarding music, it provided a baseline—a standard for what needs to come first. It gave me something to live up to, seeing the comfortable way the teacher produced a tone that vibrated my heartstrings. That is a musician truly at home. 

I knew—as much as I wanted to dive into the deep end—that it was crucial to learn the basics of an instrument first; I had to cautiously walk the steps of the pool before I could give it my all and jump in. Like many things, I underestimated the difficulties I would face starting from square one. 

Not understanding how much self-control and willpower I needed to stop myself from getting carried away with my frustration, I continued to show up to class. Being influenced musically is perhaps my proudest accomplishment, so it’s something I will never regret.

But no matter how much I benefit from orchestra, I have never thought of it as the opportunity that I sought.

My opportunity came after quite some time in the form of tarnished and poor-quality guitar that had been worn by time and lack of use; unlike many of my dad’s students, I didn’t have my head down. Unlike many of my dad’s students, I knew when my opportunity came. I just had to be smart enough to dust it off.

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About the Contributor
Rowan Szpieg, Staff Writer
Rowan is entering her first year on The Central Trend as a junior writer. Her love of writing developed in recent years through expressive poetry. Although it is a hobby that assumes a bit of her time already, when she's not sitting back with a new writing piece on her computer, you can find her playing her guitar. Any spare time she has that's not occupied with family or friends is spent learning to play new songs. She also loves to spend her nights under the stars around a bonfire in the summer and laughing too much playing board games in the winter. Rowan is always up for a movie night as a way to share her interest in film. When she's not watching a movie, she has Friends playing in the background on every occasion.   Comfort movie: The Proposal Favorite time of the year: When Christmas music starts to play Favorite book: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom Favorite song to play on guitar: Don't Think Twice, It's All Right by Bob Dylan Has she shortened her watchlist of movies? Not at all! It's still over 300

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