I Was Homesick After a Day at Glenelg


Senior Rachel Henry (left) and Glenelg junior Justin Robertson (right) at Glenelg. (Photo from Glenelg’s twitter.)

Walking up to Glenelg at 7:45 March 27, 2018 was terrifying. I had on my Wilde Lake sweatshirt, and my bulky Wilde Lake band jacket. I was a giant billboard saying “Hey! Look at me! I don’t belong here!”

All of the participating students and some counselors sat down in a small conference room. The students paired up into twos, and we each had an exchange partner. The counselors gave us a get-to-know-you activity to try and find similarities between us.

They told us to think of the first movie we remembered seeing. I said Avatar. My swap partner said Monster House. He recalled the moment he was watching it too. “I was driving in the car to our second house across the bay,” he said. Second house.

Wilde Lake districts students from Section 8 housing, meaning that it is partially paid for by the government to help low-income families afford homes. That’s when I knew the experience would be completely different than Wilde Lake.

In the first class I went to, the lesson included a powerpoint presentation with a discussion of the events of the Russian Revolution. The classroom was silent for the entire 45 minutes. I missed the hustle and movement of the Wilde Lake hallways and the discussion between friends. Everyone at Glenelg was just so… quiet.

After the first class, it was GLAD time, their equivalent of WildeCat time. They were allowed to roam the halls and enter any room they wanted. The sound was no more than a buzz.

Here, there is constant motion and  always a whir of activity. Whether it be physics dropping eggs on mainstreet, a senior walk-in, or just the regular day’s events, something is always taking place.

During the debrief session at the end of the day the Wilde Lake students were making observations and inferences, and we added on to what each of us would say. The Glenelg group remained fairly quiet, and if they had things to say, they would raise their hand and wait to be called on.

It was a different dynamic.  I think at Wilde Lake, people see the school as a home. Unfortunately, lots of kids don’t have safe places to leave to after school, so they’ll either hang around the area or the school itself. Everyone has a home here.

I think it may be why we are so loud and outspoken. When you’re at a place you’re surrounded by people you know and care for, you can be loud and be yourself. One of the Glenelg kids in the exchange said that “I don’t need to be here [at Glenelg unless there’s a purpose.” That resonated with me. People like to just hang around Wilde Lake all the time.

The whole experience made me realize why I love it here so much. Not to say that it was so unbearable at Glenelg, but I now appreciate the little things that differ. It was a day away from home, and I was homesick.