BVH junior truly puts “International” into the IB program
Diego Dela Rosa
After living in Mexico for five years, Korea for three years, and in India for a few months, junior Jiteak Kim became a part of the BVH student body this school year.
“I have to adjust to the change in friends, teachers and classroom environments,” Kim said. “The only real difficulty I experienced here was getting my credits accepted. My school in Mexico followed the British system so all of my credits had to be translated into American classes, such as Honors and Integrated Math. For certain subjects, such as sociology, I could not receive credit for the classes that I had taken in Mexico.”
Academics and credits are important to Kim, especially since he is pursuing an IB diploma. However, most of the credits transferred fairly easily from his previous school in Mexico, Greengates School, is an international school that focuses on the IB curriculum.
“I am excited that the IB Program allows for students to do things like this,” IB coordinator and math teacher Jared Phelps said. “I appreciate that I have the opportunity to be a part of a program that is an international program with provisions to do things like this. It further strengthens my resolve to try and implement the IB Program as faithfully as I can so that it continues to be easier and easier for students to transfer to our school.”
Other than figuring out credits, Kim and Phelps also had trouble creating a schedule, which was complicated due to the five IB classes Kim is enrolled in. Despite these academic difficulties Kim had to figure out, there are also some social ones he has had to face.
“During lunch, I was very surprised to see the amount of people that flooded in, because one grade here generally has about 600 people, while in Mexico my entire school would be about 600 people,” Kim said. “In Mexico, it was easy to be friends with everyone in my grade, and I was outgoing. Here, you are forced to section yourself off into friend groups, which is a very nucleated way to make friends.”
However, it seems that Kim has found his niche as he has joined Speech and Debate and varsity academic league. In addition to these extracurriculars he also swims. Some familiar faces throughout campus spark Kim’s memories as he attended Casillas elementary school, fairly local to BVH.
“Since I was here in elementary school, I had befriended a few people who I enjoyed spending my time with. I was not expecting to find them again, but I have a few classes here at BVH with the people I used to know,” Kim said. “Although we are not as close as before, we are still familiar with each other and we are still friendly with each other. They really helped me to get used to the environment here. They made it easier to find my classes and get used to the timing here, with nutrition break and lunch.”
Kim has had to get used to many different things on campus, but he is eager to complete and continue this year at BVH.
“I noticed that he was a very organized and highly motivated student,” Phelps said. “I am super excited for Jiteak and I am glad that he seems to be pleased to be here. I am pleased that I am getting a chance to run an opportunity that students are happy to be a part of.”
German exchange students adapt to new lifestyles in San Diego
Walking through the hallways of Bonita Vista High School amidst a multitude of different races and ethnicities on campus, two foreign faces seek to carve a new path for themselves.
As of the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, two junior students from Germany, Kjara-Louise Hellmuth and Emma Kanngiesser, are currently attending BVH. Both students are involved in different foreign exchange programs. Kanngiesser is involved with the Dr. Frank Sprachen & Reisen (DFSR) Program and Hellmuth is involved with the Ayusa by Intrax Program, neither of which are connected to BVH’s foreign exchange programs.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to go to California and then I actually went to San Diego and Los Angeles last year, so that was basically my realization of that dream to come here. People are way more friendly here,” Kanngiesser said.
Hellmuth, also elaborated on why she decided to temporarily live in the United States. She mentioned how her sister also committed to doing a foreign exchange program two years ago in Oklahoma, which also prompted the new BVH student to invest in this program.
“I [came] to first improve my English and also to get more experience. My sister did it, and she had a great year. She is really good in English now. I think it’s a really great opportunity to do this in the junior year,” Hellmuth said.
The family hosting Hellmuth are Marilyn and James Williams, while Emma Kanngiesser was previously being hosted by the family of Zitlalli Ramirez, a junior at BVH.
“Since she is here for a year, the directors [of the foreign exchange program] prefer us to refer to each other as siblings,” Ramirez said, “ basically we are sisters and that’s what we call each other, so we’ve gotten pretty close.”
Hellmuth also discussed her interest in after school extracurriculars at BVH.
“After school you can do sports and we don’t have those in Germany. You can do sports but not for the school,” Hellmuth said. “You have to pay for the sport. Here after school, you just go to a sports team. I’m in cross country and I enjoy it really much. I found my friends there”
While the German students have some freedoms in regards to extracurriculars at school, their foreign exchange programs and new school responsibilities in California press some limitations onto what they can and cannot do. Ramirez states that Kanngiesser’s school in Germany allowed her to have more free time.
“The teachers don’t assign homework which means that they had more free time to get jobs in Germany. Here she can’t work at all with the program, she can’t drive and she can’t get a permit,” Ramirez said, “they have a lot of rules that she has to keep even though they were normal things over there, she can’t do it here.”
Despite these limitations, both Hellmuth and Kanngiesser are enjoying their stay in California and are looking forward to the rest of the school year.
“I’m just enjoying my time and I’m excited for this year, I don’t know what will happen,” Hellmuth said.
From the snowy alpines to the scorching desert
Junior from Juneau joins BVH student body
An Alaskan girl embarked on an airplane, which flew over snow-covered mountains, lakes, and hiking trails. Her flight landed hours later at her new home in San Diego, California, where the sun shined and the air felt dry.
A month later, she stepped onto Bonita Vista High School’s campus as a student on Friday, Sept. 1. Overwhelmed by the huge crowd of students, she was only used to a school half the size. BVH junior Jenevah Swanson moved to San Diego after living for fourteen years in Juneau, Alaska.
“We just wanted a change, because fourteen years is a really long time,” Swanson said. “We have family here [in San Diego], so we just moved in right next to them.”
Swanson moved in with her cousin, BVH junior Kiara McElrath, after she went through a long process moving to San Diego, such as acquiring a proof of residency and choosing a new class schedule for her junior year.
“I have been as supportive as I could be to my cousin because I know it has been hard for her to transition from Alaska from California,” McElrath said. “It has been hard adjusting to a not-so private life anymore, but I like it.”
Swanson has traveled to California seven times in her life for summer visits. However, she is currently adjusting to living in San Diego permanently. The main adjustment for Swanson is living in a much bigger city that has more people and leisurely activities.
“There’s a lot more malls, more places that are really big. In Juneau, we just had to shop online for all the cool clothes,” Swanson said. “I’m looking forward to going to more restaurants. I only went to the same two or three [in Juneau].”
Another major difference between living in the continental subarctic environment in Juneau and living on the West coast in southern California is the everyday weather and wildlife. Swanson regularly encountered snow, bears and cold weather in Juneau. English 9 Accelerated and English 11 teacher Daniel Wasson advised to her that she should buy more shorts, as they were not a big part of her wardrobe in Alaska.
“It’s nice to have a student who’s from somewhere else, where weather is something they have to plan for and be aware of,” Wasson said. “I like having students who haven’t lived here their whole life because they see things differently.”
Swanson’s journey from Alaska to California is a major transition in her life. However, she is embracing the changes that come with moving to another part of the country.
“I really miss my friends and my family. I’m looking forward to meeting new people. It’s pretty fun to get out of my shell and try and really make new friends. Starting schools is pretty exciting, stressful, but exciting,” Swanson said.