Horizon Students Submit Essays, Videos About Their Plans After High School
During Career Awareness Month in February, Horizon’s Guidance Department held its second career contest. Open to all Horizon Charter Schools and Lincoln Montessori students, the contest sought to motivate students to explore a variety of career paths.
To enter, students needed to describe their ideal career, explain why they are interested in this field, what it takes to follow their career path, and their next steps in preparing for their idea job.
Thanks to the generosity of the Horizon Charter Schools Education Foundation, prizes were awarded for first, second, and third place entries. The first place winner received a $25 gift card, and second and third place winners each received a $15 gift card.
The judges reviewed all student entries and chose their top three. Although the choice was a difficult one, below are the essays and videos deemed the best. As you review them, you will agree that Horizon Charter Schools students are amazing people with wonderful goals and unlimited options.
First Place Essay
Joy is an 11th grade student at Horizon Charter Schools. Her essay details why she changed her long-sought goal of being president and instead decided to become a doctor.
Change of Plans
I’d always dreamed about becoming the first woman president of the United States, but that was until I broke my hand. Here I was, the first-woman-president-of-the-US-that-wasn’t in the ER room with a broken hand. I’d never realized how busy a hospital was until I had to sit there for several hours. There were CNAs pushing wheelchairs between IV machines, RNs in blue scrubs taking vitals, and x-ray techs squeezing in between anxious patients, beds, and chairs with their machines. And then the hum of the hospital room was interrupted by the entrance of a magical creature: the doctor. As he entered the room in his shining white lab coat and stethoscope, he seemed to know instantly what was wrong with my hand, and as he examined my broken metacarpals, a stream of Latin poured out of his mouth which his assistant madly scribbled down. Instantly, he knew how to fix my broken bones, giving orders to the nurses. As he exited the room, he was still giving my mom instructions on how to take care of my hand which is in a big blue cast. “Wow,” I thought, “that sure beats sitting in the Oval Office all day!”
I want to become a doctor because I want to have knowledge in my brain, healing in my hands, and love in my heart. I want to understand all the processes that happen in the human body. I want to know why when a person stops breathing, his heart keeps blood pumping through his body. I want to know why taking Tylenol will not have the same effect on the body as narcotics will. I want to know why when the baby is in the womb, he already has distinct features and characteristics. I want to walk around with my brain popping with facts and knowledge. I want to know how to fix people. I want to approach a person who is hurting and take away his pain. I want to leave a difference in the lives of thousands. I want to go places where there are no doctors and help the people who otherwise won’t be able to receive medical attention. I want my hands to leave an imprint on this world and on the hearts of its people.
To become a doctor, I need to go through a lot of steps. First, I need to satisfy my prerequisites by either taking college classes or Advanced Placement tests. It is then necessary that I earn my bachelor’s degree in biology which I would like to do at Sacramento State University. Next, I would have to take the MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test, which is required for entry into medical school. Then, I need to write my medical school application and submit it to the medical school of my choice, which would be Harvard. It will take another four years on average to complete all required coursework; I’ll have to specify a specialty in my final year of med school, but I’m not sure what I want to specialize in exactly just yet. I’d also have to complete a residency program and, finally, become board certified in my area of specialization. Obviously, I’d have to find a job position for myself and constantly continue my medical education, but otherwise, I’ll be set to help people. Right now, I’m taking steps towards becoming a doctor by preparing for AP exams, which will help me satisfy my prerequisites, and by volunteering at a hospital to understand better how a hospital functions.
Doctors have many responsibilities. As a doctor, I will have to undertake patient consultations and physical examinations, organize workloads, and perform surgical procedures. I’d also have to provide general pre- and post-operative care, monitor and administer medication, and assess and plan treatment requirements. Of course, the most boring part of the doctor’s job, writing reports and maintaining records, also has to be done. But the most important thing I would like to do is give each patient specialized and individual care.
I want to become a doctor to take care of people and it’ll be a long way to get there, but it’ll be all worth it the moment I correctly diagnose my first patient and create a treatment plan that will help them. Becoming a doctor is my greatest dream and someday, it’ll be something greater than a dream: a reality.
Second Place Essay
Kristy is a junior in Horizon’s high school program. Her essay provides information about the process needed to dye fabrics and material, and how her passion for a more sustainable and Earth-friendly method led her to start her own business.
The Modern Natural Dyer
The oldest record of natural dye dates back to 2600 BC in China when a root pigment called madder was identified in the red fabrics found in the Egyptian tomb of King Tutankhamun. By the 4th century AD, pigments such as woad, brazilwood, weld, and indigo were commonly used in paints, inks, cosmetics, and dyes. Civilizations around the world taught themselves how to harness the power of plants into brilliant hues using traditional techniques. In 1856, the landscape of creating color drastically changed when a microbiologist named William Henry Perkin discovered the first synthetic dye, mauveline (mauve). Synthetic dyes dominate the fashion industry today and are toxic to health. What would happen if the forgotten practice of natural dyeing was brought into the 21st century? This is the very question that I seek to answer, and to do so I have to learn everything I can about this art form, attain the necessary credentials, and have a vision of where to take my business in the future.
Natural dyeing is a unique craft that requires research through various ways including: the internet, books, experts, and — most important — personal experience. To provide a basis of what natural dyes are, I will relay what I’ve learned so far from many websites and books such as Botanical Color at your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos. Natural dyes can be divided into three categories: plant, animal, and mineral. These dyes can be applied to protein fibers (silk and wool) or cellulose fibers (linen and cotton).
Some dyes need assistance to adhere to fiber. That is where a mordant comes into play. Mordant means “bite” in French, therefore mordants help pigment to stick to and remain colorfast on the fabric. Some mordants include: alum, iron, cream of tartar, and tannic acid. If dyes require mordants, they are called adjective dyes and if they do not then they are called substantive dyes. Substantive dyes already have a naturally occurring mordant present in them called tannin which can be found in plants such as acorns, pomegranate rinds, myrobalan, and eucalyptus.
I am keenly interested in the chemistry of dyes and am constantly amazed by the pigment locked in unsuspecting hosts found in the natural world. For example, avocado skins typically aren’t given a second thought, but this food waste item can produce peachy pinks and can be further modified with ferrous sulfate (iron) to become purple. In order to recreate any specific color, precise measurements are required for the given weight of fabric (WOF) and need to be recorded meticulously.
I email interviewed a fiber artist named Terry Shearn who gave me insights about the bounds of the art form saying, “The natural dye process screams for experimentation. You don’t want to be afraid of failing. Some of what I thought were my biggest errors eventually brought the most exciting results.” Understanding plant identification, chemistry, and math through research and trial and error is the key to successful natural dyeing.
Though learning independently is vital to gaining the skills and confidence to practice natural dyeing, some universities offering programs such as California College of the Art’s textile arts program could give me credibility as a fiber artist. A degree would provide comprehensive lessons in natural dyeing and give me access to knowledgeable professors and like-minded creatives. In addition, Terry Shearn suggested taking business classes like entrepreneurship, small business management, and marketing to help grow my online business called “Flushed in Flora” which offers handsewn and hand-dyed garments made from sustainable materials. Since my goal is getting back in touch with the traditional techniques of indigenous people, I would want to have firsthand experience of these techniques. There is one workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico led by master natural dyers who aim to preserve the cultural traditions of ancient Zapotec weavers of Teotitlan del Valle. This would be an incredible cultural experience providing inspiration that could follow me through the future of my business.
I see expanding my business to farmers markets and craft fairs to connect and network with locals and enrich my community. Collaborating with sustainable businesses could give Flushed in Flora a larger audience and deepen its roots in my community and online. I envision having a line of clothing, accessories, and home goods in a wide range of plant colors like indigo, marigold, madder, and cochineal. To generate a viable source of income outside of making clothing, I have ideas to host workshops, do wholesale orders, sell my own extracts, and write an ebook. If I were to support myself on this small business, then I would need to actively be looking for ways to grow my business and these ideas would give me a great start.
In this business venture and creative endeavor I hope to learn through practice and input from mentors like Terry Shearn, I hope to gain credibility as a fiber artist, and I hope to work hard and see my idea grow to be profitable not only monetarily but in the relationships with the people I meet in my community and around the world. Natural dyeing is my passion. My process is slow and mindful, it tells the story of nature, ancient peoples and their techniques, and sustainability. What would happen if this story was told to the 21st century? I think something extraordinary.
Third Place Video
A 6th grader at Horizon Charter Schools, Colin chose to submit a video entry. In his video, Colin explains how reading a book led him to be interested in becoming an entomologist.
Horizon Charter Schools Celebrates 25 Years of Helping Home Study Families
Horizon Charter Schools has the distinction of being California’s 15th public charter school. This year, we’re celebrating our 25th year as a California charter school! Along with being one of the oldest, most experienced charter school programs in the Golden State, we’re also one of the most innovative. We offer multiple learning options and robust support for parents and students. Unique in the region, Horizon provides a family educator who presents educational workshops, a parent liaison to connect families for socialization, and guidance counselors to help high school students with college and career choices and needs.