by Simran Patwa
Does HB foster a creative atmosphere to let students’ imagination flow? That is an excellent question we should all explore as students of HB. With HB’s motto being: “learn not for school, but for life,” HB promises to tie lessons in the classroom to real world situations. HB says that it will deliver the message of the motto personally to every student. I do believe that HB allows some creative room in the classroom in their writing programs, including AP Language and Composition class, in which mistakes are encouraged and risks are taken, and Retrospect, which allows students to write creative pieces not guided by a formal prompt. AP Lang allows students to learn from mistakes in their writing and, while much of high school may feel confined, this course has allowed others, along with myself, to step out of the incarceration in that tiny bubble and express ourselves.
HB strives to push creativity in the community. However, it also provides such little time to bask in the creative environment with the amount of homework we have to complete every night. Along with homework, the looming stress of college stands over our heads, telling us that creativity is important, but good grades and extracurriculars are a notch higher. This is part of the reason why it is so difficult to try a new technique in writing, fearing a bad grade. However, my sophomore and junior English class have adopted a different system that assesses writing, not with a letter grade but, with an ‘in process’ or ‘final draft’ label. Therefore, I do not have to worry about getting an in-process writing grade because I can revise it later if the risk I took did not work the way I wanted it to. Percentages either provide a number that stresses students out or makes them happy because they received a good grade writing only for the teacher, merely answering the question, not diving deeper and certainly not writing for themselves.
HB does a great job of bringing in writers who can add positively with their wonderful poems and beautiful writing. This year, Naomi Shihab Nye and Alexandra Fuller added a rich sense of writing and poetry that was widely enjoyed by HB students. I really think that it provided a different perspective into life that HB’s environment many times does not provide. We got an insight into the real world and, at the same time, got to enjoy wonderfully crafted spoken word poetry and anecdotes of Alexandra Fuller’s time in Africa. Alexandra Fuller’s stories and views growing up in a racist environment her journey sparked creativity within much of our English class and most of the school. Naomi Shihab Nye’s story consisted of having a different background while growing up and finding her way through life using writing. Creativity in HB was born from these two writers’ stories and many more.
In AP Psychology, we recently received an assignment that had to do with experimentation on ten subjects. The subjects had to memorize a list and the amount of information the subjects remembered the days following the experiment had to be recorded as accurately as possible. This was the first creative assignment we had received! The class was interesting in itself, but it consisted mostly of discussions. Where was the creativity? This was a question I pondered over for a while and finally I came to the conclusion that time was to blame. There are not enough hours in the day to fulfill creative prospects as well as learn all the material needed to be covered by the end of the year in order to prepare for the AP or the final. I believe that in order to thrive in life, creativity needs to persist and HB is the first step in that process because it has provided its students with an assortment of creativity and an abundance of opportunities to have a voice.