Fresno Christian High School
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Small school atmosphere lures student back

Small schools offer many attractions: hallways filled with familiar faces, teachers who know their students as friends and a familial bond throughout the student body.

Many love this familiarity, but some come to feel sheltered, causing them to desire more diversity. Some leave for a larger school, but the experiences they endure often lead them right back to the smaller campuses they were attempting to leave behind.

Ashley Gable, ’05, experienced this scenario firsthand.

“You are just another student to the teachers at the larger high schools,” Gable said. “You can ditch classes and never get caught because it is so big, and they rarely notify your parents about anything. It’s so different at smaller schools.”

The downsides to a small school can seem great. Although some like the familiarity, others dislike feeling sheltered from the real world. Being prohibited from many things that are acceptable at larger campuses can be a struggle for many.

“My sophomore year I was ready to leave my small school surroundings,” Gable said. “I felt like everyone at this school was trying to find out everything that was going on in my life; they were always in my business and keeping me from doing what I wanted to. It was like that saying about when you’re forced not to do something and it just makes you want to do it even more; that’s exactly how I felt.”

Large campuses have a student population that can be up to five times greater then smaller campuses. When students first arrive they can be overwhelmed with all the classrooms and buildings.

“My new school was huge, and I thought at first I would never be able to find my way around,” Gable said. “I didn’t have any teachers who cared about me; I was just someone who took up a seat in their class.”

Students can slip through the cracks at larger campuses; it is nearly impossible for the teachers to keep their many students in line. The standards upheld at larger public campuses may not be set as high as smaller private schools.

“One of my teachers was fired for smoking weed with some other students,” Gable said. “I was really shocked at that.”

Many notice a change in their lives when attending large public campuses. The need to fit in can be overwhelming, and they find themselves doing things they never thought they would.

“While I was attending there a lot of my friends were into some bad things, and I started to conform to my surroundings and the things that they were doing. It was during that time that I realized I needed to go back to a smaller campus where there would be less temptation to be involved with harmful things.”

Friendships acquired at smaller schools can be more personal and lasting.

“I missed all my small-school friends and hanging out with them,” Gable said. “I also missed playing softball. I’ve played since I was a little girl, and I love it, so I am excited to return and play on the team with my friends.”

Although many enjoy a large school setting, others can feel out of place. For more information on ways to become involved with activities and what this campus has to offer, contact the high school office at 559-299-1695.

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