Umbher, High School Student, CA

Umbher is a student at Palo Alto High School (Paly). She was interviewed by a peer and one of our student Catalysts--Yusra--for the RE-ENVISIONED collective visioning project at Paly in Spring 2017. Check out other #SchoolSpotlight interviews for Paly by following #PeopleofPaly.

Umbher is a student at Palo Alto High School (Paly). She was interviewed by a peer and one of our student Catalysts--Yusra--for the RE-ENVISIONED collective visioning project at Paly in Spring 2017. Check out other #SchoolSpotlight interviews for Paly by following #PeopleofPaly.

What are your hopes for your life?  What would make a “good” or successful life?

Right now I’m more focused around school so probably getting a good grade in math--last semester I did not get a good grade. So making sure that I keep up with everything and not procrastinating. Also, doing what I want and not following what other people do. And taking time to just be myself and not worry about what other people think of me and what other people want me to do. I know I want to go to college somewhere, hopefully, if I get in. And then it’s just what I want to do from there.

Is there anything you worry about getting in the way of achieving a good successful life?   Anything that keeps you up at night?

There’s always going to be classes in school that I don’t like, so I’m not going to do well in [them]. And people sometimes can be the worst. So, I just try to stay away from the people that make you feel like you’re not worth anything, and right now [there is] Trump so of course he’s going to make me feel like I’m just an object.  

Ideally, what role do you think schooling, high school or specifically PALY, should play in achieving that ideal good life?

I think it’s really important to get a good education. So PALY is one of the best schools. I think the main purpose of life is to help other people. So, from this you can teach other people that don’t have as good as an education, or travel somewhere and teach little kids or something.

What do you think the purpose of schooling is for individuals and society, broadly?

The purpose of school is to teach you the common knowledge that everybody knows and then from this you can help other people. So if you spend your whole time at school, and then don't do anything with this knowledge, I feel like it’s sort of a waste of time.

What have been some of your most empowering educational experiences? This doesn’t have to be in school - it can be something you have done outside of school.  

I was working at the Boys and Girls Club over the summer for 3 weeks about 8 hours a day, so it was really long. But there was this little kid that couldn’t sit still and didn’t know how to read and didn’t know to do any math. So over the 3 weeks the teacher assigned me to this one kid and we just sort of went over everything, and by the end he could read like this little chapter book. So that was really cool.

Tell me about your favorite teacher? Why are they your favorite?

My favorite teacher is probably my Bio teacher because he’s always trying to make my class really fun and always has these little activities that we can do. And he walks around and talks to each of us individually. So that’s really nice. He takes time to joke with us and not just focus on Bio, which can be hard and boring sometimes.

How do you think the experience of school shapes your answers to these questions?

I think we live in this community that has a lot of money to donate to this school so we have a lot of technology and stuff that others schools don’t have. So, it’s really interesting to go to other schools and see all the things that they don’t have, which we have the money and power to have. So it’s just interesting to see that.

If you had to choose one thing about your high experience to change what would it be and why?

I would probably do stuff that makes me happy and not something that I feel it’s a pressure to do. So, just join more clubs and take advantage of everything that we have. And not be afraid to ask questions.