A Journey’s End, And a New Beginning

By Alfred Cardenas, Staff Writer

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Alfred Cardenas has been recognized throughout his high school career for outstanding academic achievement.

Growing is that part of life that will never end. However, to grow we need to gain knowledge that will make our life more productive and successful. When we all hear the word high school, we tend to panic… we feel that we cannot handle such a responsibility, but as soon as we get into high school, we discover that it is not as bad as we thought. We start our transition from teenagehood to adulthood, we make new friends, but most importantly we prepare for the world out there.

 

Starting my journey

Stepping into Miami Senior High for the first time was like stepping into a maze. Everything was so different. I felt lost in such a big school, but as the year progressed, I got used to having new teachers and meeting new people. Yes, I cannot deny that my freshman year was very challenging because I felt overwhelmed by the new methods of teaching, but at the same time, I started to become more independent and develop new friendships.

 

What went wrong

Taking classes was very challenging for me because it was difficult to develop my own method of studying with the resources I had available at that time. One of my biggest challenges was taking Algebra I because of the amount of visual content including graphs. Ever since the beginning, math has been my biggest difficulty in schoo. However, I can say at the end with determination and the support of my teachers, parents, and PARA Professional I was able to pass the class.

 

Overcoming my obstacles

Another challenge I encountered during the beginning of this school year was when my digital braille keyboard malfunctioned and this situation represented a difficulty because without my keyboard, I was unable to complete my class assignments on time. However, thanks to the help of our principal Mr. Valdes and the staff of Miami High, I was able to obtain a new braille keyboard. Without their help, I wouldn’t probably be able to continue working well in my classes and I have nothing but gratitude towards Mr. Valdes and the teachers.

 

It’s all about the fun

High school is not only about completing your classes, it is also to make new friendships and to be involved in extra activities that will help us develop new skills for life. During my four years I was involved in the theatre program and participated in the production of Alice in Wonderland. I joined the band in 10th grade, and ever since my Junior year, I have been a member of the of our Miami High chorus. Participating in all these activities taught me that success and learning come with hard work and a spirit to go beyond limitations.

 

The best schedule

What I love about Miami High is that no matter what club, or class, or activity you are involved in, they never judge you or tell you not to do it. I have been taking many different classes throughout my time at Miami High, and some of my favorites have been Biology, Geometry, Journalism and Chorus. Taking these classes made a huge impact in my life because they pushed me to give the best of me to accomplish my goals in class and also to understand that no matter how much we know, we never stop learning. (Bringing back the memories)

When I think back, I can say for sure that I am taking with me some of the best memories. During my freshman year, I was awarded the 2016 Miami Senior High Sean Denlinger Memorial Award for outstanding academics. This was a very special memory for me because I was completely surprised and honored. Another great memory for me was singing in all the chorus concerts because there is no better feeling than to do what you love the most.

 

An upcoming future

Preparing for the world out there has been my main focus in life. Every class that I have taken in Miami High filled me with new knowledge and skills for the world. Each teacher and students have done everything that was in their hands to help me the best they could. I really thank the special education program for giving me the support and resources I needed to complete high school successfully. Now my path after this takes me to Florida International University where I will pursue a BA in Fine-arts and a certificate in translation and interpretation.

Ms. Sampedro, Alfred’s paraprofessional, has been by his side for many years in school.

Good wishes

I always treated every class with all the respect and responsibility because for me every class has been guiding me to a better future. MathI feel so grateful that all of my teachers treated with the same amount of respect and dedication.   teacher Mr. Floyd said, “Teaching as well as learning, in general, are challenging, demanding endeavors. However, given your special need coupled with the limited resources available made the teaching as well as the learning all the more challenging. You are one of a handful of students I have encountered who consistently came to class ready, willing, and able to learn. Your perseverance and preparation are an inspiration to all. Not only did you keep pace with the course curriculum, you left my tutelage with greater confidence in your mathematical abilities as well.”

Biology teacher Ms. Gutierrez added, “When I first found out you were going to be in my class, I was very nervous. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to teach you effectively. When I received your textbook in Braille, things got serious! But, all that anxiety was for nothing because you are such an amazing student. Your desire to learn and improve made it easier to use new strategies and techniques. I want to thank you for that. You made me a better teacher. My favorite time of you in my class was when we did DNA & Genetics. To be able to show you how to do those Punnet squares was really one of the best times I’ve ever had as a teacher. With every project you turned in and the Harry Potter drawing you made me, I have been more and more proud of you. Without a doubt, you completed and surpassed academic goals in my class. You were, and continue to be, an inspiration to your classmates and to me. Thank you for that. Thank you for being such an incredible person,” she said.

“I really enjoyed having you in my class because I never have taught someone who is visually impaired,” said journalism Mr. Denight, “I was challenged in a positive way to think of ways to best deliver instruction and feedback to you. One of my favorite memories is that I discovered who you were several years ago when one of my other journalism students wrote a profile about you.  I was very impressed by the positive attitude you displayed in the article, so I was excited that you would join my class.”

English teacher Mr. Waugaman added, “I think back to some of our first encounters and to be honest, having you in class was a complete pleasure. Despite what the potential obstacles may have been, I always saw you as a solid student who was completely engaged in my lessons and you were a bright spot that I could rely on to set a good example. My favorite memory of you was when we did classroom presentations and we took on certain roles of literary characters. I loved your command of the material and, especially with no help or props, you mastered your project and you showed the class how, despite personal challenges, you could reach a high goal. I think that made a big impact on the class as well, inspiring some students to dig deeper and find their strengths.”

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

When I think back to remember all that I have done in these four years, I feel definitely touched by how much I have accomplished and how Miami Senior High has helped me. I made really good friends and encountered people that gave me their entire support, guiding me along the way. I want to express my gratitude to the entire staff of Miami High all the teachers and students.

 

At the same time, I would like to extend my thanks to our principal Mr. Valdes for welcoming me into this great school that never rejected me. Also, a big thanks Mr. Chaine and Ms. Wilcox, from the special education program, who constantly supported me.

 

I would like to thank all my teachers, but special thanks to Mr. Floyd, Ms. Gutierrez, Mr. DeNight, Ms. Cid, Ms. Yanes, Mr. Waugaman, and Mr. Hampton. Each one of you taught me many valuable lesson but most importantly, you taught me to always push myself to become the best version of myself.  I not only respect each one of you, but I also admire you and I leave you with my friendship.

 

Lot of thanks to all the counselors, specially Ms. Puentes and Mr. Cuevas for guiding me into my next journey… college. But I could never leave without thanking someone that has always been with me these four years and has supported me unconditionally: a big thanks to Ms. Sampedro, my Para professional who was with me through all the ups and downs.

 

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