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Middle College Life

By: William De Bruce

Middle College at College of San Mateo. Photo Taken by William De Bruce

We have lost many friends, who have left Design Tech High School. They include the beloved William Yu, the intelligent Lowell Kalman, the controversial Frankie Gomez, exciting Alexandra Tognotti and the whimsical Joshua Bruno. Of those who gave exodus, they all share a similar fate. They all left d.tech for Middle College.

As an alternative to a traditional high school education, the Middle College program  allows 11th and 12th grade students to attend community college to complete their remaining high school credits. The program selects up to 35 junior and 35 senior applicants from San Mateo Unified High School District, and allows them to take high school classes and college classes on the College of San Mateo campus. The Dragon contacted all the above mentioned students to find out more about Middle College.

“Really good”. That is how, legend, William Bartholomew ‘Zheng He’ Yu explains his time in Middle College at College of San Mateo (CSM). Yu attended d.tech for its first three years as a school, but said he “would recommend” Middle College for his friends who still attend d.tech. Yu explains: “[Middle College will] allow me to go to colleges I want [and] excel [at my] skills. It teaches responsibility and time management.” According to CSM’s website, some expected impacts of their Middle College program are “Improved communication skills and media literacy, Increased maturity, independence, [and] Work experience and exploration of career options.”

Yu says d.tech was “not hard enough”, “too free”, and “unorganized”. To offer closure for those who mourn his departure, Yu released an official statement, entitled, “the Youth and Millennials”:

You are the future, don’t let anyone decide or make choices for you. Just f***in’ do it, just do that s**t…..Money rules life. Don’t slack off. There’s always someone better than you. Someone will take your place. Yo, can I make a P.S.?….P.S. shoutout to Tyler Chan.”

Joshua Bruno left d.tech after freshman year. Bruno joined Middle College after returning from an out of state school. He explains: “I wasn’t allowed to return to my previous school – d.tech – and was zoned for San Mateo High School. I thought that would limit me educationally, so I looked into Middle College at CSM.” “The idea of taking college classes and not being restricted by a high school setting” excited him. To maintain Middle College attendance, students have to enroll with a minimum of 7 units at the college. Bruno loves his experience at Middle College, saying “Many of the high school bureaucracies are left behind” and the students are “looking to do more than they could while in high school [and] pursue their interests.” He misses the convenience of d.tech’s friendships, however, “Friendships [at Middle College] have to be more strongly maintained, and usually schedules of work can interfere with that,” says Bruno. He leaves us these words:

“Get out and explore, follow what makes you passionate. For me, taking and exploring various college classes made me realize how much I love to learn, especially Biology. That isn’t for everyone, but I would recommend removing yourself from your comfort zone and taking classes that interest you, seem interesting, and are new and exciting. Follow your dreams!!!!!!”

Bruno is currently on track to attain his Associate’s Degree in Pre-Nursing by the end of next semester, along with his High School diploma, and plans to attend a four-year University to become a Registered Nurse.

Frankie Gomez attended d.tech for his first two years. He revealed that he kept his Chromebook, and his @dtechhs email remains active. He also attends CSM for Middle College. Gomez is pursuing a computer engineering career and says that “design challenges don’t go away when you get to college. I have to do one for my computer engineering course”. He does miss his friends from d.tech and especially the “laid back environment, even if that laid back environment wasn’t intended to exist”. However his college classes are “even more laid back than d.tech” due to its “laid back environment”. (Insert chiropractor joke) In college he’s noticed that high school classes are “the serious environments”. When asked about plans after high school Gomez responds, “Seattle University looks good.”

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