My Year at James River High School

By Zachary Whitcomb

James River High School Year Review

James River High School is just another ordinary high school in the United States. Everyone here is the same as my old school. There are still the same sophomores trudging through the six and a half hour day, the seniors slacking through their last year, the freshmen looking to every other student above them for advice, and the juniors that keep forgetting they graduate next year. James River High School is just ok.

The building itself is not terrible. The hallways are long and span across two floors with lockers and classrooms lining the walls. The lockers aren’t too small but aren’t huge either, so anyone who brings three different bags to school might have a problem. Throughout the school there are vending machines scattered on the main and top floor filled with drinks and snacks. The prices are fairly cheap, but I usually get a water.

The new gym and weight room added to the school was a good addition. The cleanness of the new gym is one of the highlights of the building and looks good during basketball and volleyball games. James River also has a baseball, softball, and football field by the back parking lot complete with a student section, bleachers, a concession stand, and a lot of bright lights. Going to games and showing school spirit with friends always seems to be fun no matter what the temperature is or what type of game it is.

My experience in classes so far isn’t bad at all. As a fairly quiet student, unless with friends, I’m still able to stay on task and get my work in. I’ve never really liked school even when I was younger. James River is bearable for me, and I don’t constantly feel like giving up in classes unlike the last school I attended. However, I have definitely noticed my mood being drastically lower than it used to be. I haven’t known anyone for more than a year and a half and it's hard to trust a new group of people. I’ve noticed my general attitude turning from upbeat to melancholic. I love getting reminders from my second block teacher to smile more right as I walk out of the door.

My current semester at James River is simple. I take history, ecology, personal finance, and digital journalism. My history class has a few of my friends in it, but half the time I spend it catching up on work from talking to them the day before. Ecology has nothing that interests me about it. Class is writing notes and doing worksheets that have all the notes we just wrote down. I sit in the middle row farthest from the door, close to the window. Half the time I’m in class I’m scrolling through Amazon for music equipment I know I can't afford. It keeps me occupied and wishing for more. Personal finance is only about twenty to thirty minutes of work every day, and then we sit around for the next hour talking to friends and doing nothing. This probably sounds amazing to some students, but for those who get tired of doing nothing and get frustrated when you feel like time is being wasted, it’s hell. I know I’ll learn important skills in that class but still… It just feels slow.

Digital Journalism is its own story. It’s just students that want to put out something they’re passionate about and for some reason i feel like I don’t fit. I know I’m passionate about my writing and my work and what I want to do out of school, but I feel outside of the bubble. The class itself is great. I feel like I haven’t had this much freedom to write what I want in school ever. The whole class works and jokes with each other and silences while our teacher gives us the rundown of the day.

James River is okay. It’s not perfect, but its not bad at all. I know most of my emotions I’ve felt while here were not because of ‘here’. I know it’s because I’m away from friends and family and it's a brand new start. To anyone who would ever think about James River for some reason, do it. The cafeteria is large enough to hold both groups of lunches and even though I don’t eat here, friends say the food isn’t terrible. The people are nice enough, the classes will keep you engaged, and if you ever use the bathrooms here, there probably won’t be too much vapor in the stall next to you.