STUDENT VOICE - Columbia Heights Educational Campus

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CHEC is an environment that is bustling with activity, full of excitement and overflowing with life. Students build friendships, learn responsibility and work hard in a safe, secure environment.  Whether we are singing, acting, competing or learning, we are doing so in a unique way to create an education that defines a lifetime.  At CHEC, students experience many fun and exciting events that involve the entire school.  From pep rallies, to participation in many events within the community, we believe in the importance of the entire student body being involved together.


Dear me:

I am writing this letter to remind you all the plans that you had. Remember all that effort you made to achieve your goals. Let me tell you that you have already reached many of your goals, but you have to reach some yet. Remember when you came from your native country Guatemala to the US with your father, how sad you were to abandon your family and friends, how scared you were to go to another country, a country you knew absolutely nothing about, where you have to speak another language. Remember your first day at the school when you felt scared because you didn't know how to speak English and you imagined that they would make fun of you for.

When you got to school, you realized that you were not the only one learning English, and that gave you encouragement to persevere. Remember the happiness that you felt when you finished your first year of high school and how anxious you were when you reached the last year of high school, when you didn't know what you  wanted to study: architecture, translation, or education. Remember your graduation from high school. This day was very special for you and your family. You were the first in the family to graduate in another country and the first to go to college.

Remember when you started your career in architecture, and when you had time, you learned different languages. Well, let me tell you that all the effort and dedication you put in during those years was worth it. Now you are 35 years old, you know 4 languages, and you are a successful architect. But you are not entirely happy yet. There is something you lack and that is to go to your country and see your family. Sadly, you can’t travel yet. You aren’t a resident, and you can't go all those countries that you would love to visit. But do not be discouraged.

You are in the process with immigration and possibly you can obtain a residence and thus be able to travel. Stay calm. Everything will come in time. Don't get discouraged just because you haven't reached one of your goals, you've already reached many.

Alberdy Ramirez-Lopez.

A thank you letter to my alma mater, CHEC.

For some people, one's middle and high schools are a blur and something to quickly forget. You attend classes, meet a few friends, graduate, and then you begin the rest of your adult life. I don't think many of us ever stop to think about how much of an impact going to the right middle school or high school makes on one's life journey.  Well, I have and I can honestly say that I would be not where I am today without Bell or Lincoln. And for that, I owe this place a huge thank you.

Thank you, CHEC for shaping me into the adult that I am today and for giving me teachers that truly cared about my life and success. Thank you for providing me with lifelong mentors who I know I could always go to at any point in my career. Thank you for opening doors to so many opportunities and thank you for setting me up for success.

Thank you for being the place where I discovered myself. I got to spread my wings and became the best version of myself on campus and I got to be a part of memorable experiences and one-of-a-kind opportunities that I don't think I would have found anywhere else. Thank you for truly caring about the well-being of the students. I know at times students can get frustrated and feel that the whole world is against them, but I know how hard the faculty and staff works and how much they try every day to make CHEC a better place for everyone. Thank you for being my middle school and high school experience.

Thank you to the friends that I made. CHEC was my second home and the music department was my second family. We went through everything together and supported each other through everything. Thank you for all of the laughs, the tears, and the unforgettable memories. I don't think I would have survived Bell without you all by my side and I am so thankful to have made such amazing lifelong friends.

I am beyond blessed to have had the high school experience that I had. I love that I could come back anytime and be welcomed with open arms. I look forward to coming back and giving back to the school that gave me so much. Thank you for everything!

To current CHEC students, I would ask you to cherish your time on campus and take advantage of all that is possible here at your school. Don't leave without creating a special relationship with your teachers and your colleagues. Good luck on your jouryney.

Astrid Rivera
Class of 2011


For most of my life, I've been on a quest
To discover just who I might be,
Earnestly searching, day after day,
So desperate to recognize me.

I've felt moments of utter fulfillment
And moments I couldn't go on,
But I knew for the sake of my heart and my soul,
To succeed, I would have to be strong.

But the people around me seemed so lost themselves
That I feared I might be on my own.
But then there'd be someone who would reach out and help
And remind me I wasn't alone.

I've wanted so much to be happy,
To know what it was to feel peace,
And I thought if I finally felt sure of myself,
Then the pain and the struggles would cease.

But I've learned that this journey is endless;
The discoveries are fresh every day,
And no matter how much I might know of myself,
They'll be times I will still lose my way.

And as I've grown older, I truly believe
I may never know all I can be.
But the answers are not waiting out in the world
But have always laid right inside me.

We're all on this quest to discover ourselves,
Together but through our own ways,
Overcoming whatever might get in our paths,
So we can feel better someday.

But always remember not to stray far
From what matters and what's really true.
In this life you don't have to be perfect.
In the end, you just have to be you.


I have a lot of questions and a lot of answers. What will future me look like? What would I become? What journey I’m meant to be on and what treasure I’ll find along the way. But to do that I have to go back to the beginning to understand the path.

I’ve always loved writing I think that writing gives people a chance to express themselves. Gives people their own voice in this world of chaos. When I’m writing it’s like everything just fades that all I hear is the cars on the road. When it’s just my pencil and paper the anxiety that fills around me is gone. I ask myself this question all the time do I matter? Do I have a purpose? Am I something special? Or am I just another lost living soul? They say if you’re breathing you're living but if you're living with no purpose, no understanding of who you are, no potential, or no worth are you really living?

I think in life we search for things that we want the most but sometimes the things that we search the hardest for are in us even if we can’t see it yet. Maybe future me is destined for something grand. Even if I can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

So what do I hope future me knows is that I am worthy, that I do have my own path. That all the pain, heartbreak and adversity wasn’t all for nothing. It made me stronger, not weaker. When you go through the struggle you go through it for a reason, and it’s up to you to learn from it and not live life repeating the same mistakes. But most of all I hope I know who I am and what I meant to be but hope can only
go so far then comes reality.

Zaina Robinson

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