Meet Jennifer Velazquez, Étude Class of 2020 graduate. Jennifer transferred to Étude Middle School as an eighth grader and continued her academic career throughout Étude High School.
“I remember making the choice to transfer, because at my old middle school, let's just say it was rough. I was experiencing bullying and it wasn’t a healthy place for me to be. I wanted to have a new start. When I looked into Étude Middle School, I knew it was a project-based school, which was new for me coming from a traditional school. I really loved my experience meeting new friends. I created some bonds with my teachers that I never had at my old middle school, and I also liked the different projects either at the middle or high school level. At a traditional school, they just gave us project options like the basic powerpoint presentation. At Étude you can do whatever art form and that is something I really liked. After a couple of projects I knew I wanted to go on to Étude High School.”
Each semester, students at Étude High School commit their time in Project Block to a topic of their own interests, questions, passions. They research the topic in history and its relevance in today’s society. They create an artistic piece to demonstrate their research and ideas about the topic. Then they present their learning and work at the John Michael Kohler Art Center. During her time in Project Block, Jennifer discovered her poetic voice—penning original poems about Dissociative Identity Disorder, teenage rebellion and how happiness is discovered and maintained in life.
“The experience I really do enjoy the most is every Exhibition of Learning, because we bring everyone together as a school and others from the community to show off our projects that we invested in throughout the semester. During the EoL season, I enjoy watching my peers talk about their project, how much time they invested, and their passion for their projects.”
An original poem by Jennifer:
Late Night Thoughts,
We danced until it was a late-night,
We drove until it was a late-night,
We talked and laughed until it was late at night.
I always come back,
Feeling like I’m driven to you,
I’m not sure why.
I always thought your name was dead to me.
When people mention your name,
Small smile forms but it quickly fades away.
They ask me if I’m happy,
maybe I am,
but not with you,
but the idea of it.
We hid away from the world,
Sneaking off to a place no one can find us.
Our small sacred place.
Your arms interwinding with my body,
As we lay on the ground,
Pulling me close,
This is my forever place.
A place I never want to leave, nor am I moving away.
Congratulations Jennifer and thank you for being a part of the Étude community! Go forth with an excitement for learning, a desire to explore and the knowledge that you are empowered to change the world.
“Even though I had some rocky moments during the past few years like most teenagers, I don’t regret transferring to Étude. I’m grateful, because I found my passion in creative writing, and I’m also starting to find enjoyment in dance. While at Étude, I first refused to take dance class, but during high school I learned to be open-minded and let myself step out of the ‘creative writer’ box. I found another artform that I do enjoy.”