I can’t believe it’s been an entire year already. It feels as if just yesterday I was that same timid junior who first approached room 306 to a four-fingered man wearing shades who was waiting to high four me. Throughout the rest of the school year that same man would go on to teach me not just about rhetoric, diction, and applying critical thinking skills to my writing, but also about life and the “real world”. Thanks to Mr. Ziebarth and to my friends and peers, AP Lang will remain a beloved component of my junior year.
In a sense I’m just like Tom Joad; hardworking and persistent, I have spent the entire year working hard to get to a better place. Through AP Lang I learned the values of applying myself to school and to life. I learned how to take others’ opinions into account in my writing. I learned how to observe even the most minuscule of details and how to analyze them. I learned how to improve my public speaking skills and how to effectively communicate with other people. I even learned how to better cope with anxiety. In APUSH I learned the values of hard work and getting good grades through doing outlines; it was also through doing my outlines that I really got to know one of my now best friends. In AP Calc I learned about the benefits of studying and how it really does help you get good grades. Like Tom Joad, I managed to (most of the time) not complain about my workload, instead looking at the end of the tunnel and working to get to that better day.
Junior year was a weird year. I spent the majority of my junior year trying to find the purpose that Holden Caulfield was also striving to find. I got involved in and out of school more than ever before. I reached out to make friends with unexpected people. I opened up to others and tried to better understand everybody. I was a catcher in the rye in the sense that I was trying to help others while also seeking help myself. Some people really helped me deal with the depression that Holden Caulfield was going through as well. Junior year and AP Lang specifically strayed from the conventional terms of school that I was accustomed to, but this really helped me grow as a person.
In another sense I am completely unlike Holden Caulfield. Instead of labeling people as “phonies” I actually went out of my way to make friends with some people. Brian Chu, Brandon Amezcua, and Chad Nakagawa… I will always remember them as a major factor in my AP Lang experience. Whenever I needed help or advice, I could always count on them for their aid and comfort (especially Brian). They taught me the values of companionship and cooperation through the many in class projects we did together. Friends outside of AP lang that really helped me were Kuan-Yu Lee, Calvin Thai, and Zack Baldy (shoutout to Kuan Yu and Calvin for their help / advice in calc and physics).
What really defined AP Lang for me was how completely unconventional it was. Never before had a teacher let me hang out for an entire class period (Global School Play Day). No teacher before had ever trusted my class enough to let us roam the campus to find a suitable place to read. No other teacher let me use social media as a learning tool. Of course, Mr. Ziebarth let us do all of these, and although these activities all seemed strange and far-out, they were the things that I really learned from this class. Through this class I was given the trust, freedom, and independence that no other teacher had ever given my entire class before. This link of trust between us and Mr. Ziebarth became the baseline of our class, and it really helped me learn to communicate and collaborate.
Yes, language is indeed important. It affects how we communicate with one another and how we shape our words. Language molds us together, and it is through the words of language that we can bond. Holden’s use of language is what distanced him from others. Mr. Ziebarth taught me the proper use of wording and language.
That’s one of the things I’ll miss about AP lang and more generally FVHS itself. Last week was the senior’s final week, so now all my senior friends are gone, and although I’m going to miss them all – especially Kuan-Yu – that’s life. You learn and you go and you never stop or quit. Looking from broader terms it’s scary to see that in a week I will no longer be a junior, and before long I’ll be graduating from FVHS. At the beginning of the year I was so scared of my outlines and essays like the Nickel and Dimed essay (which we didn’t do because Mr. Ziebarth is an unconventional teacher), but now that I look back I can’t help but laugh at how primitive my fears were. I don’t know what to expect when looking on the road ahead but this won’t stop me from doing anything. My newfound skills from AP lang and junior year in general will help guide me through the rest of my life. It’s been a great year in AP Lang… Thank you again Mr. Ziebarth and everybody who helped me thus far on my journey. 🙂
Shoutouts to the following people: Mr. Ziebarth, Ms. Atkins, Mr. Nelson, Brian Chu, Kuan-Yu, Zach Baldy, Mr. Olsberg
Shoutout to Chad Nakagawa and Brandon Amezcua