Work hard, and all will pay off. This is the mentality that is ingrained in our minds as we strive to be academically successful due to the influence of the MVHS student body. Out of a survey of 193 students, 73 percent stated that the main reason their family lives in Cupertino is for the education; MVHS is ranked #13 out of all high schools in CA as reported by the U.S. News and World Report. We follow advice to achieve academic success, and find satisfaction in being that student with a 4.0 GPA, or the student that is ranked among the top decile of our graduating class. Our routines are largely homogeneous. This is not to say that it’s wrong to strive for academic success, but it becomes an issue when this culture impedes our involvement in our community.
We know how important it is for us to get good grades, study hard for the SAT and go to a highly-ranked college. Study for tests, focus on clubs and seek impressive extracurriculars. Regardless of whether or not we acknowledge it, the Monta Vista community embodies a robotic, homogenous routine of working hard amidst the competitive mentality. And we can’t let that prevent us from getting experience in our own community.
Eighty percent of students reported that their parents are first generation immigrants. We may not be able to say that our grandparents attended MVHS. We may not view Cupertino as our community. We may not find permanence in Cupertino. But the truth is that, this is our hometown. It surely isn’t one of those towns in which everyone is a familiar face, but it’s still a place worthy of appreciation, involvement and attachment— even for those who were been born somewhere else. All of us attend high school in Cupertino and are people of this community.
Though our family heritage may not be of America and our families may not be fully involved — whether it be not voting, not reading the newspaper, or not participating in local events — we hold a different role. Though 52 percent of students state that their parents are minimally or not involved in the community, and though our parents may not view Cupertino as their original or permanent community, we should. As members of the community, we have a responsibility to be aware of and involved in Cupertino. Regardless, the the community is in our hands, and it’s up to us whether we stay isolated from it or get involved in the future.
With many changes in Cupertino, we should recognize what the future of this city will become. The reconstruction of the Vallco Mall will transform the entire mall area into a sort of “downtown” space along with a chunk of land dedicated to the creation of more residential homes. The new Apple Campus, according to Macworld, will be finalized in 2016 and have an area of 2.8 million-square-feet and house more than 13,000 employees. The city’s population grew 15 percent from 2000 to 2010, as reported by the Bay Area Census.
Though this increase doesn’t seem drastic, it does means something. We contributed to that population increase by living here and attending MVHS, so it’s time to give back to our community after it has given so much to us and our families. A simple visit to Cupertino’s website can help us explore volunteer opportunities that range from maintaining Cupertino’s clean environment to helping out in the Senior center. Research by The Corporation for National and Community shows that being involved in one’s community can help strengthen connections, improve lives and find a sense of purpose or belonging. Taking initiative is the key to being a part of something and expanding our experiences.
We can turn a blind eye, and focus solely on our SAT prep, 5 APs and college applications rather than contribute to our surrounding environment, but we can’t shake off our presence in our community. We, as students, should serve a purpose in Cupertino beyond just our own education. A role to appreciate our community and be invested in it—to give back. We can find more sincere satisfaction from assisting our community, because our impact lasts longer and is larger than our own lives. Aside from achieving academically, striving to improve our community through various methods allows us to see the bigger picture and gain invaluable experience. We get to be a part of something collective and more impactful than our day-to-day test scores.
Through various community service clubs such as Octagon, National Honors Society and Interact, we often become involved in other communities instead of Cupertino. These clubs do indeed give us valuable service experience, but we still need to remember and directly give back to Cupertino. Exploring the Cupertino website and reaching out to the city council allows us to boost communication skills and widen our horizon.. This is our community, our home, and we are the ones who shape the future of our community, the mentality of the student body.
With the start of the new year, we have a chance to explore our community and develop insight into unexplored areas of our community. With the chance we have, let’s mold the culture of MVHS’s community for the better. Cupertino has a history, and today, we are here to make more of it.
Co-reported with Emily Zhao