Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Most Important Lesson I Learned at APS, by Samuel TeBos

AHS14During my freshman year in football, Coach Brose decided to start a leadership class before school. That class taught me many important life lessons. The most important lesson that I personally took from it was the lesson on a Pyrrhic victory. The phrase Pyrrhic victory is named after Greek King Pyrrhus ofEpirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC andAsculumin 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. He won the battle, but in turn lost the war. This phrase can be taken to mean many different things; I take it two different ways. One is that I always need to see the big picture and be prepared for the future and not just go at what is right in front of me. That is a key life lesson I learned in high school that still holds very true, but it is not the most important lesson I learned in high school.

The most important lesson I learned was the other meaning I take from the phrase: “pick your battles and cut your losses” when it comes to arguments. Coming into high school, I was willing to argue anything with anyone, and I would not give in to anything. I was determined to be right at any cost. I shortly realized that, with the exception of certain topics on which I stand firm, most of those arguments are not life and death scenarios, and by battling like I did, I would lose more than I would gain. By fighting tooth and nail and not be willing to compromise on everyday arguments, I would lose my peers’ respect and not be able to accomplish anything major. It would be a Pyrrhic victory because I might win the argument, but in doing so, I’d have lost more than you I gained.

What I have found works best is to first listen to the other side of the argument and then put myself in the others’ shoes and try to see the situation from their perspective. Once I have done that, the other person is almost always willing to listen to my side, and this gives me the insight into making a mature and logical compromise that works best for both of us, where each person gives up as little as possible.

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Categories: 2014 Summer Series | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Most Important Lesson I Learned at AHS, by Matthew Conflitti

AHS14Lessons of life can be learned in and out of the classroom.  I enjoy learning new things at school about science, math, and English, but I like to consider the knowledge of those topics as skills rather than life lessons. A life lesson is something that sticks with you even after you have forgotten everything you have learned from schooling. It becomes a part of your morals that you strive to pass onto your children and grandchildren. Most of these are things you cannot learn in a traditional classroom with notebooks and textbooks and number two pencils. I suppose you could read and write about people who have achieved learning these life lessons, but there is something about experiencing things for yourself that makes them actually stick.

In today’s busy society, people seem to have lost sight of the more important values in life. High school classes are full of homework, projects, and presentations that often won’t matter in the longrun.  Yet, students stress out about so many meticulous and irrelevant details.  I am in no way advocating for the laziness of future students, but it seems to me that our scope has changed, or veered off slightly, from what really matters: how we interact with the people around us in a positive way.

School has become a competition of grades where we are categorized by our GPA and how well we scored on the ACT.  This leads to pressure on students regarding which college to attend and what to study. It seems everyone we talk to about where we plan to go to college has some sort of two cents that they want to add: “Oh, don’t go there. No, study this instead.”  School has slowly taught me over the past four years that I have the final say on every decision in my life.  I have learned that if I try to meet everyone else’s expectations and forget my own, I will surely fail and feel worse about my abilities as a student and as a person.

Incoming freshmen should sit down before they start in September and write down five goals they want to achieve by the end of their senior year — and then stick with them. I did not do this, and I felt  I had strayed slightly during my middle years. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself and your decisions. Wouldn’t you rather have those decisions be your own? If you made the wrong decision, you can learn from it and become a better person because of it.

If you have a dream, accomplish it. If you have a life goal, achieve it.  Just make sure that it is your decision. Promise yourself that you will never let anyone sway you from your position. If you can do this, you will succeed in life.

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The Most Important Lesson I Learned at APS, by Danielle Schmidt

Schmidt, DanielleOn May 22nd, 2014, I was handed my high school diploma and sent off into the real world. I am a student who has attended Allendale Public Schools since my very first day of kindergarten, and Allendale Public Schools shaped me into who I am today. In this school district, I have been truly prepared to go out into the real world. The teachers have taught me much that I know, but the most important lesson I learned from Allendale Public Schools cannot be taught simply in a classroom. The most important thing I learned at Allendale Public Schools, is that life is all about the people. From social skills to empathy to respect, I learned it all at Allendale Public Schools.

In my early middle school years, I started participating in after-school activities. I was a cheerleader and a member of the student council. I tried to do as many extracurriculars as possible. The teachers always highlighted the importance of getting involved in school, so when I finally did, I realized why they had always suggested it. In these after school activities, I broke out of my shell. I was an awkward middle school girl. I had tried to perm my hair which had turned into a complete disaster, and my closest friend was probably my Tamagotchi. I was weird, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I built up my social skills when I decided to join a few school activities. I learned how to make friends, and I learned how to actually talk to people. Allendale Public Schools always highlights the importance of getting involved, and it is important that every student take this chance. Activities teach kids how to be social and make friends that can last a lifetime.

Allendale Public Schools also taught me respect. The teachers were always nice and understanding, but in order to earn this kindness from them, you needed to respect them. I quickly learned in high school that I would get nowhere if I didn’t respect my peers and teachers. This trait is especially important since people will never get a job if they can’t respect their employers or co-workers. I believe that, in general, kids normally respect their parents, but in APS we learned we needed to have respect for everyone we had to work with.

The last, yet possibly most important trait I learned in Allendale Public Schools was empathy. I learned that arguing with someone you don’t agree with gets you nowhere. Instead, it is much more important to learn how to understand, to learn why and how people feel the way they do. It is okay to disagree with others; it is not okay to tell them they aren’t allowed to believe what they believe. Putting myself in other people’s shoes will get me further in life than what I would otherwise expect. Since Allendale Public Schools has a wide variety of beliefs and traditions, it is almost impossible not to learn this quality here.

Allendale Public Schools have given me so much to take away and use later in life. I’m proud to be an alumni of Allendale High School because our school district is a wonderful place to live and learn. APS teaches the most important qualities one will need when going out into the real world. Social skills are important if we ever want to make friends. Respect is important if we ever want to get a job. Empathy is important if we ever want to keep relationships with others. Allendale Public Schools isn’t only about grammar and math equations; after all, the most important thing I learned there was that it is really all about other people and how to interact with them.

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The Most Important Lesson I Learned at APS, by Chandler Stevens

Stevens, ChandlerThe most important lesson I have learned throughout my high school career was not a lesson that I learned specifically in a math class, English class, music class, or any other formal class. This lesson was learned throughout my days at Allendale High, and then perpetuated throughout my day-­to-­day life.

The lesson began with a quote from Mahatma Ghandi:  “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.” This struck home for me, especially in my senior year. It inspired me to achieve greater things. It inspired me to go beyond myself. It inspired me to make the world a better place. While I did not directly learn this in school, Allendale High was an important factor in opening me to this mindset.

It is hard to narrow my high school experience down to a few examples where I was inspired to be great or to do great things. All throughout my educational career thus far, the teachers and staff at Allendale have always been behind me, encouraging me and praising my work, but also pushing me to a higher standard of achievement. Beginning my freshman year, staff encouraged me to start strong and be the very best I could be to prepare myself for my future as a “world changer.” I recall this term even being used specifically in one of our class lectures, a challenge directed towards the class of 2014. This was a call to greatness.

During my freshman year I did exactly that: started out strong in preparation for my future. My accomplishments were praised, and I was encouraged to continue to set the bar for those who would follow. I was already in a sense setting the example for others, and changing the world in a miniscule way.  However, no matter how well I did, there was always room for improvement. There were always AP classes to be taken, extracurriculars to be attempted, and higher heights to be reached.  One thing that surprised me was that the staff encouraged me to try my best, but to also make time for things that mattered most in my life: family, friends, and my relationship with God.

During my time at Allendale High School, I have learned through the words of staff members and the example they have set for me that I am a future world changer. This is a high calling, but one that is very achievable through preparation. At this school, I have been pushed to limits I believe have equipped me for whatever lies before me. I am excited not only to see a change in this world but, more importantly, to BE the change in this world.

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