Video: What Does Athenian Mean to You?

For the past six years, Athenian has held a Diversity Banquet for incoming and current students and families.  It is an opportunity for individuals to share their life experiences, their identity, and how Athenian has helped shape their worldview.

This year, we were lucky to have a recent alumnus return to campus to share his thoughts about Athenian’s continuing impact on his life.  Brendan Amechi Okwechukwu, Class of ’07, articulates,

“The opportunities I had on AWE, and traveling, and from day to day relationships I had with teachers, many of whom are here tonight, are lifetime experiences I will never forget.  And I don’t know how many high school students can say that.”

Brendan shares that many of his life’s defining moments centered around Athenian.   One particular memory from AWE stood out to Brendan.

“I’m looking out at this beautiful scene, and I’m thinking, here’s somebody who’s coming from East Oakland, to this school that I didn’t even really know if I wanted to go to at first, and now look where I am, and look at what I’ve accomplished, and look at what I can accomplish…that’s one of the best moments of my life.  And there’s just so many more experiences I’ve had at Athenian.”

Logan, a current junior, also delivered a personal speech, revealing,

“Throughout my 5-6 years at Athenian, I’ve come into myself…In my sophomore year, a lot like Brendan, I went on a Round Square Conference in Thailand.  And that was  one of the first times I considered myself in terms of my worldview, and what I wanted to do with my life, and what I value…This year I’m in Lizette’s Race in the US class, which has probably been one of most amazing classes I’ve ever taken, just because it’s given me a chance to really think about my place in the world and how I relate to other people and what my role is as a white woman.  And what I can do in terms of joining the racial discussion and talking about diversity and coming to events like tonight.  I would’ve never been this person if I hadn’t come to Athenian…Athenian has given me the gift not to be the girl from the Danville bubble, and to be someone who has her own thoughts,  is different and is an individual, and that is something I will forever be grateful for. “

Zarmeena, a 6th grader, spoke about her experience starting middle school at Athenian.  She chronicles her first year at Athenian and how her experience far surpassed her expectations.

“This school is not like that at all [middle schools on TV and movies].  There is no bullying and people respect each other.  The teachers are fun to be with and teach in an interesting way.  I became friends with my whole grade within the first month since the community is so small.”

To see more personal accounts, visit our Testimonial’s Page.