Cleveland Life

5 Days.

5 days of school left. 3 of them are finals. 1 is core awards for part of the day. Tomorrow is my last full day of high school. I am in complete and total shock. ‘Senioritis’ is in full effect and there seems to be no stopping it. I’m excited for college and I’m excited to be done with the mobs and immaturity of high school, but my heart is breaking about leaving the program. The thought of not seeing Linn run down the hallway or helping out in the magnet office or E10 is so incomprehensible… it really doesn’t seem real. I’m waiting to see how graduation feels. I bet it never really will feel like the end. I’ll walk off the football field next friday night and it won’t feel any different. It seems like its hard to feel the absence of a future somewhere; its hard to get out of the present and truly comprehend what it means to leave. I know I’m not gone forever. I’ll be back to visit frequently, and HOPEFULLY return to teach there one day.


Quick Life Update:

Accepted (in order of preference for attending)
1. UC Santa Cruz
2. UC Riverside
4. San Diego State
5. San Francisco State
6. Mills College
7. Sonoma State
2. UC San Diego 😦
Waiting On:
1. UC Santa Barbara (Decisions announced this Monday at 4pm)
2. UC Berkeley (Decisions announced this Thursday)
3. Pomona College
4. Pitzer College
I was really hoping I’d get into UCSD, but what can I do. Now I’m really just waiting on Santa Barbara. If I can get in there, that’s where I’ll be going. Otherwise, it looks like I’m going to Santa Cruz. But hey! Maybe it won’t be all that bad……

It’s now that time of year…

It’s that season. College letters are coming. Actually thats a lie, its not even letters anymore. We now get the anxiety of checking an online portal. As of today, March 12th 2011, i have been admitted to 6 schools, and rejected from 1. I’m still waiting to hear from 6 more.

Accepted: UC Riverside, CSUN, San Diego State, San Francisco State, Mills College, and Sonoma State

Denied: UCLA.

“patiently” waiting to hear from: UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, Pomona College, and Pitzer College.

By 2 weeks from now, i should get responses from the rest of the UCs and hopefully Pomona and Pitzer.

I just want to know at this point. I’m sick and tired of feeling like shit, anticipating the inevitable rejection from schools that I love and the probable acceptance from schools I’m ambivalent about. Making an effort to not only suppress my own hopefulness, but more difficult than that, the hopefulness of my parents. Yesterday I found out I got rejected from UCLA. It wasn’t a surprise. It didn’t shock me to my very core. I know the stats. I knew my chances were slimmer than slim. But that doesn’t me it didn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean that I’m not sad. How can I not be. “Qualified” or not, it’s still someone out there in the world telling me that they don’t think I’m “worthy” of their school. Anyone who tells you it doesn’t hurt one bit is lying. You can psych yourself up and cover up the pain all you want, but it’s still there nagging at you.

This week was rough. I was stressed beyond belief, with tests up the kazoo and one of the infamous and horribly exhausting core midterms, aka IUEs. As if that wasn’t enough, as a TA for 11th grade, I also had to re watch the “secrets of the SAT’ video that 11th grade core students watch as part of the affirmative action workshop. I had to relive the misery and pain that I felt last year watching it. I had to once again feel hold back my tears as I watched students with far more “merit” than myself get rejected from Berkeley, my top choice school. I had to re listen to Macon’s lecture on merit, and how the UC system and other colleges determine what it is. It struck a cord with me. While last year I was stressed with the SAT, and trying to do well my last semester that “counted”, I still had control over what I was doing. I could still study for the SAT and get my grades up. Now, i feel like its a lost cause. I feel angry at myself. I could have done better. Nothing was holding me back but my own inability to encourage  myself. Why didn’t I shut off the tv and study for the SAT? Why didn’t I log out of facebook and do a better job on my homework or study for my tests? I have no one to blame but myself. I may not be happy about how colleges define “merit” or “qualification” but I was well aware of their definition, and I blame myself for not living up to it. There was no system of disadvantage working against me, there was no significant “extra-ordinary” circumstances that caused me to underperform. I am priviledged enough to not have to deal with the obstacles and struggles that so many American teens have to deal with on the road to getting a college education. And for that I say, the blame falls on me.

But don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate myself. I don’t wake up every morning agonizing over my failures. Because I know I haven’t failed. I mean I got into 6 schools! Six places want me on their campus. Sure they aren’t the schools I dream of going to, but what do I know? I never know what my future holds. I could have the worst experience ever at the best college in the country  or I could have the best experience ever at the worst college in the country. You see, I’m trying to be optimistic. The rational scholar in me is trying to stay positive. Just because I’m not satified with how I’ve done, doesn’t mean I’m not proud of everything I’ve accomplished as a student and as an individual. I’m grown so much in the last four years. And I’m doing my best to not care that the colleges don’t think that I’m qualified for their schools. I know that I am. I know in my heart that I could compete with the rest of the students at UCLA if I had the chance. And I’d like to think that wherever I do end up,  I will excel and be at the top of my class.

So here I am now. Essentially 2 weeks away  from knowing where I’ll be living and going to school for the next 4 years, and boy am I scared. I’m nervous and excited and a little nauseous. But it is what it is. I mean, what else can I do but wait and see? I’m hoping for the best, and I wish all my friends the best of luck! Remember to tell those you love how proud of them you are, whether they get in to their dream school or not 🙂



cut by cut.

We have a serious problem. Not I, not you, not he not she or even they. WE have a serious problem. Yes there is a major national, even world-wide budget crisis. But I can’t see the whole world’s issues all at once. I can’t understand every problem or small intricacy or even begin to try. But what I can do, what I do see, is my community and the world around me. I see an education system that was never at the level it should have been in the first place. I see teachers who don’t receive anywhere close the salaries they deserve. I see teachers worried about loosing their jobs.  I see teachers who have lost their jobs. I see students who aren’t invested in their education because no one ever told them they should be. I see failure all around me. It seems that everything is getting cut. Nothing is sacred. Not education, not medical coverage, not human rights. I hate to bring out the dramatics but like I said, we have a serious problem.

My last entry was my letter to LAUSD officials. I explained why I love my magnet program and why we can’t afford to loose 90% of our funding. But unfortunately, my letter and the letters of my peers were not enough. As of tuesday, the cuts were approved and it seems that a great many things will be changing next semester. None of us know precisely what the future holds, but it isn’t looking good. It’s really rather interesting actually. You see as a society we tend to assume that as time progresses things will get better, more rights will be secured, and we will move forward to brighter days. But lately I see no evidence for any of this. Things are getting worse. And the rate at which they are declining is also increasing. I’m honestly scared, actually nauseated and terrified for the future of this country. It seems that everything is falling apart right in front of our eyes, and everyone is filled with such apathy that nothing will ever get done. I wonder how many government officials who are making cuts to the public education system actually went through it. I have a strong feeling most of them are wealthy white men who went to elite private schools for the whole of the educational career. And lets say I’m wrong. Lets say they all went through public education. Then they should be even more ashamed to be destroying such a vital, necessary part of our country.

We can’t escape this issue. It affects us all. You don’t have to be a student or a teacher for educational budget cuts to hurt you. For all the people loosing jobs, there are then going to be businesses loosing money that comes paying customers. People don’t buy things when they don’t have jobs. But that’s not even the point really. I mean like I said before. I’m living this. This problem is my field of vision. Every day I see people struggling to get by and I feel so helpless. It affects us all, but its seems like there is nothing anyone can do. Which makes everything so much more frustrating because someone needs to do something. My point is not to ramble on about how this problem, but just to express my personal anxiety over this issue. On that note, I sign out, but i ask of you, please, don’t be apathetic about education.

Letter to LAUSD about proposed budget cuts

Attention: School Board Members

My name is Johna Reisch and I’m a 12th grade student at Cleveland High School Humanities Magnet. In light of upcoming LAUSD voting, I feel the need to stand up and voice my opinions about the matter at hand. When I graduate from high school this coming spring, I will be leaving behind a program that has had more impact on me than I can even begin to put into words. The Humanities Magnet Program at Cleveland High School commonly referred to as Core, works to teach students beyond the text, beyond the standards, and beyond their imaginations. We work together as a community to not only learn the material, but also learn about our peers and ourselves. One of the reasons why my school is so valuable is the leadership provided by the teachers, and the magnet coordinator. The magnet program is headed by Gabriel Lemmon, a great leader, advisor and teacher, whom I’ve come to know well. Without him, the program wouldn’t run. We rely on his guidance and assistance everyday to maintain and enhance our educational environment. Every day when I come to school I know my mind will be expanded, my opinions challenged and my assumptions questioned by my teachers and peers. In fact, my school has made such an impact on me, that I even dream of one day returning to teach there myself. However the increasing cuts have me worrying that it may not be around in another 6 years when I’m ready to return. This is an upsetting truth that needs to be dealt with.

We have to ask ourselves, what is education all about? What’s its purpose and what kind of role should it play in the lives of our citizens? School is supposed to be about learning skills and acquiring knowledge that will help prepare students for the real world, but this is so often forgotten in a fury of standardized tests and mandated curriculums. It seems that education has been turned into a machine of production, pushing students in and mechanically shoving them out again, and expecting them to be filled with “cookie-cutter” knowledge that will supposedly set them on the right track in life. But we are all individuals who have different experiences, capabilities and levels of intelligence, and schools should cater to that diversity, as well as promoting it. But instead, most schools are trying to funnel kids into fitting some sort of image of the “ideal student”, and in the process, the education system in America is going down the drain. As it is right now, magnet schools are the breath of fresh air within a system that is a sinking ship. If the proposed cuts are approved, then my program and those like it will fail to run. We will no longer be a high performing magnet school if we lose our coordinator, our funding and our bussed-in students. For almost thirty years, the magnet program at my school has been flourishing and growing, each year continuing to produce successful young adults with great potential. Magnet programs are set up in such a way that they allow for specialized learning environments where students can pursue whatever it is they are interested in. For this reason I urge you to vote against the proposed cuts, to save my school, and those like it. The elimination or reconfiguration of magnet schools would be detrimental to the education system and the community. It pains me that we are even in a position where my writing of this letter is necessary, but I will stand up for my school, because I believe in the power that it has to shape the hearts and minds of future generations. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Johna Reisch

When I Grow Up….

I know I haven’t written anything in a long time, but college business has been invading my life. But anyways. I’ve been thinking about the future a lot lately. Contemplating careers and such, and the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I want to become a teacher. When I was much younger I used to say that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, but now I realize that I want to teach high school. I can’t think of anything I would like to do more, or even consider as a career. Teaching just feels right. I belong at a school. It’s almost become sort of a known thing amongst friends that I want to come back to cleveland and teach in the magnet. I never wanted to be a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer, and aside form the occasional odd childhood career choice of “a pilot who flies the plane while taking pictures and making jewelry”, the idea of being a teacher has always been at the back of my mind. However I never truly considered it because I was afraid of the salary and the lifestyle. My dad always told me who I am, what I should be, what kind of work environment I should be in. Until recently, I was never able to get past that block and realize that he was talking about himself not me. I am my own person and as much as he might like to think that we act and behave the same, that isn’t the case. So now here I am, I’ve made a plan, figure out what I want to do with my life, and I’m questioning my abilities. I go to school everyday and learn from such an assortment of amazing teachers who are so wonderful at their jobs. They inspire me everyday to learn more, read more, question me, and expand my horizons. They teach me about myself, my friends, our country and the world. I learn not just academic lessons but life lessons. I want to be that kind of teacher. One who reaches the hearts and minds of students. One who makes a lifetime of influence. Can I be? Do I have that potential? How did my teachers become the educators that they are today? Am I qualified? I sure hope so because more than anything,  I would love for that to be my future. I want to get my teaching degree and come back to core and the flip side of the operation. As much as high school students are supposed to hate high school. I don’t. ok. I hate taking math and science and language. But this year, my first 5 periods out of the day rock my world. literally. ROCK IT. shake it up. make me question things i never even knew could be questioned. If I could surround myself with the beauty that is knowledge and education on an everyday basis, then I might just be the best version of myself I can be. So i say, when I Grow UP… I want to be a teacher. Enough said.

A Bored Resident of Los Angeles

We all complain so much about how much homework we have, and how we have been robed of our social lives. But when we finally do get free time, we don’t know what to do with it! Take this week. I had the whole week off, I was already done with my college applications that are due this month, and I had no one demanding anything of me. I even have my own car! Yet somehow, I have managed to spend a whole week doing god knows what. I slept and ate, slept and ate, slept and ate. oh and dyed my hair. Anyways. So here I am on saturday night, going back to school in less than 36 hours, and I have nothing to do with myself. Ya sure, I have some homework to do, but i spent most of the day doing homework and I really don’t want to use it as a way to occupy my time, since all that does is make me feel worse about myself. You see, I used to feel really sorry for myself when my parents went out with their friends and I was home by myself, and I always said that once I got a car and some freedom, everything would change. But it really hasn’t at all and I don’t know who to blame for that. I spent all week cooped up in my house, feeling sick and lousy, and even when I did leave the house for a few hours it was to go to someone else’s house. We live less than a half an hour from one of the biggest cities in the world. There are so many things to do in this town, yet somehow I can’t find one. I wouldn’t even mind just going to get some starbucks or driving around, but am I really about to go do that alone. I can’t drive anyone else legally, and almost none of my friends have cars. Everyone is busy with college apps, the result of procrastination. So this is what I get for doing my applications on time. All my friends are busy. It’s really great going to a magnet school but that also means having friends that live on complete opposite ends of the valley, which is pretty inconvenient when you just want to run by someone’s house, pick them up and head off somewhere. Right now, I just want to be back in the Latin Quarter of Paris, strolling the busy streets with my friends. Bright city lights, dark skies, and no freaking homework to worry about. Alright I get it. I can’t be back in Paris, so I’ll settle for Downtown, or Beverly Hills or even classic Studio City which I am all too familiar with. But i realize more and more lately, that I really don’t know how to have free time. I don’t know what to do with myself. I really think it’s time I learn. I want to make a list of 100 things to do before I go to college. Nothing crazy. Just something, so that when winter break rolls around and summer shows up, I won’t be sitting at my computer, reloading Facebook every 2 minutes, because that isn’t any kind of life I want for myself.

Your truly, Johna Reisch

The Wonders Of The Weekend

I haven’t been timely about my posting this week but I’m so busy with college apps I hope you’ll forgive me! This weekend is “senior no homework weekend” and let me tell you I couldn’t be more grateful. On any given day I have so much homework and studying to do there really is no time left once i finish it all,that is if i finish it. Most of the time I give up a little early without completing it and go to sleep. Like I’ve said before. Sleep is my tragic flaw. It gets the best of me every time. But who can blame me!? I wake up at 5:30 in the morning, earlier if i have work to finish, get my life together and I’m in my car by 6:25, at school by 6:45 and in 0 period AP lit by 7. I don’t leave Cleveland at the end of the day till about 3:45, but i can’t blame anyone for this one, i CHOSE to stay the extra time. So by the time I get home around 4:15, I’ve been gone from my house for 10 hours, and I have yet to start any of my homework or eat lunch. I know it wasn’t necessary to give the details because I’m sure most of you have pretty much the same schedule or even worse, but think about what we do on a daily basis! No wonder I’m tired all the time! Weekends purely serve the purpose of rejuvenation. They are time where i can make time. Where I can sleep 12 hours a night rather than 5, possibly paint my nails, take a shower longer than 1 minute long, and not have to rush anywhere. Like for instance, it is now sunday morning, I have been in my pajamas literally since I got home from school on Friday and I am loving every minute of it. Alright so I’m not off partying or going to the movies, but right now I don’t need any of that. This weekend is purely dedicated to doing college applications, and sleeping.

I’m honestly so proud of myself for what I have already accomplished this weekend. I got so organized. I made folders for every college I’m applying to, all 9 of them, and printed out basic information about each from college board and stapled it to the inside of the folder. that way whenever I need to reference something about the college or find out some special statistic. I can; without even having to open up my computer. I also made folder for all the different types of forms and essays that I will need so I won’t forget or loose anything. And all of these labeled folders are sitting in what I call the 12th grade crate, where I already have my 12th grade unit 1 core stuff organized and filed away. I know. I sound kind of neurotic. But I’ve realized this is the only way for me to get things done. So what ever it takes. Plus, I also filled out the entire UC application, minus the personal statement section, which i am going to do more work on today. I have one of my personal statements almost perfect, and I am in the process of writing the second one. I fact if all goes well and I can make it work, it’s going to be focused on this blog that i write. I’m trying to find away to express who I am, particularly the talkative, storytelling side of me and fit it into a smaller condensed experience. As much hatred as I have for these personal statements, CLEARLY expressed a few blogs ago, hating on them and the whole system isn’t going to get me into college. It sucks, but its a fact. So I’ve been writing and revising, writing and revising, with the help and guidance of Ms. Williams, I actually think I’m making it work. (SHOUTING OUT OUT A GIANT THANK YOU TO WILLIAMS BTW) Anyways I’m getting done. I think that’s my point.

So all of you that are applying to college right now, WE CAN DO IT!

—-Truly yours, Johna Reisch, filled with as much enthusiasm as I can force upon myself!

Ah life.

So today I was sitting with friends after school, you know the usual, just talking about life. People, places, things. All the good nouns. But one particular thing really got me thinking. You know how people are always saying that high school isn’t real life, or that they are waiting for their life to start. People seem to forget that this is life. High school is life. College is life. Work is life. Family is life. There is no such separate entity that represents life, and all of a sudden you just start living it. All the bad things, and all the good things make up our world.

You see, I have a plan. I’m going to finish high school, go to undergrad, double majoring in sociology, and either Literature or US History. Then imma go to grad school, get my master’s in education and become a teacher, hopefully one day making it back to Cleveland. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dumb enough to think that this is for sure going to happen and everything will go my way. But it does feel nice to have some sort of semi-figured out path, just so I don’t feel quite so lost all the time. Anyways, there’s a point to me telling you my life. Within this plan, there seems little room for living this so called life. From one school to another school to another school to a career. So i realize there really is no time to just enjoy, so I better enjoy what I’m doing. I don’t understand people who have really negative attitudes about school. To me it’s like, even if you dont like it, SO WHAT! Suck it up, because this is the easy part, the part where we are guided and supported and where we don’t have to rely solely on ourselves for our own well-being. The only thing we can do is be happy with what we have to do. Appreciate the opportunity in front of us, and live it. Live it right. Live it so we love it, enjoy it. Live it because this is what we’ve got. No take-backs. So we best make the best of it.

Time doesn’t stop. And in fact it moves rather quickly. So consider this. Don’t keep trying to find happiness somewhere else. Find happiness in the things that you already do, and everything will seem so much better. We don’t always have time to set a side to do things “just for the sake of doing them” and the more I think about it, the more I realize that life doesn’t suck as much as I like to think it is. It doesn’t suck as much as the news says that it does and it certainly doesn’t suck as much as it does for other people. IF you are reading this right now, be grateful for what you have. The computer you are reading this on, the time you are spending.

In 17 years from now I am going to be 34 years old, and Im sure I’ll know a hell of a lot more than I do now. But I guarantee if you find me then I’ll still be telling you the same thing, whether I listened to myself or not. Enjoy what’s in front of you. I leave you with this.

7 rules for a life worth living. Check it out if you want. 🙂

So there you have it. Yours truly. Johna Reisch


Ladies and Gentleman you are reading a Cleveland Life blog. And that truly is what I live. The Cleveland LIfe. Seriously I spend more time at school in a week than I do awake at home. For some this might be a bad thing. I mean most people wouldn’t want to spend all day at a school when they could be doing other things. But I’m actually pretty content. I have a good day. I get to drive to school listening to the music I choose, take classes where I get to curse, tell stories, learn new things that challenge me, hang out with my friends, talk about things i actually care about, and listen to class long discussions on “shit”. So why would I want to be sitting at home, rotting away watching tv or shopping. The only other thing I might prefer would be to sleep, but that’s a whole ‘nother tangent.( If any of you knew me in 10th grade, then you know that I definitely used to sleep before school, and during nutrition and lunch on the floor of Ehall. Seriously. Everyday I slept. But I think this only proves my point further. I mean for goodness sakes I freaking sleep there! I remember Mr Lemmon walking by one time and asking me if I wanted a pillow. I mean really!) Anyways, it really does make me wonder about how we define our homes. It seems to me that school is just as much of a home as my house is.

I would like to take this moment to put in a plug. If anyone that has any power at all in CORE is reading this, seriously, we need to start selling coffee. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. We could make so much money, and people would really stop falling asleep in class so much. I mean i think everyone is better off when they aren’t having someone rawr-ing in their ears to wake them up. SO there we go. Cleveland High School. Sell Us Some COFFEE, cause no home of mine is complete without it.

Ok back to the point. You see how easily I tangent off like that? Happens all the time. You’ll get used to it. I was thinking about it the other day and I was trying to figure out why the world keeps telling us that school is such a pain in the ass that we just have to get through. Alright, yes, i give that it is rough, a lot rougher for some than others. But our parents and grandparents generation have this view of school like its almost a burden it seems. Every night my grandma calls( about 4 times a night actually) and every time she talks to me we have the same conversation… She always asks me what I’m doing, I tell her homework, she says, “I’m saawwwrrryyy.. why do they always give you so much work, isn’t it about time you got a break??!.” and while much of the time I really could use a break, it’s really not that big a deal. And her acting like its such a pain to do the work, doesn’t exactly make me want to jump up and do it.

Also, I think that one of the reasons I don’t mind coming to school, is because it seems like my teachers actually care to be there. And while im sure i could be idealizing the situation, i really dont think I am. There are definitely quite a few teachers I know, that i can honestly say I think would do what they do, whether they needed to for money or not. And I think that seeing that, and observing that sort of behavior makes me feel like I am going to school for other reasons than that it is government mandated. It really is my home. Filled with almost all the people and things that I love in this world. It scares me that I have to leave it in 8 months. I’m giving up more than just one home. I’m giving up two.

-Johna Reisch