Op/Ed: Thank You Lincoln High School

Thank you from an exchange student to Lincoln High School for the great time there

Beach in the area of Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, California (Jennifer Schwarz/Lincoln Lion Tales)

Hey, I am Jenny, a Sophomore at Lincoln High School and an exchange student from Germany. If you are interested in more stories about a German exchange student in the United States, you should definitely check out my comparison of the different schools and my story about the first Football Game I have ever been to.

However, there is always a time to say goodbye. As I am leaving at Sunday, November 4, 2018 this time comes really soon for me which I am really sad about.

I have to say that I am really grateful that I was able to be a student at Lincoln and be a part of this great community. After this short time, Lincoln – and San Jose – already feels a little bit like home. Of course I am super excited to go back home to Germany. I really miss my sisters, and my dad, and my grandparents, and of course also my friends. Honestly, I have not thought about anything else than going home the last few days.

Capitola Beach in the morning, picture taken during a trip in fall break 2018 (Jennifer Schwarz/Lincoln Lion Tales)

However, I really do not want to leave. Even if I am really excited about going home, I am also really sad about saying goodbye. I wished I would be here for Big Bone, Homecoming and Thanksgiving. There are so many things going on at Lincoln. Although, unfortunately that is not going to happen. However, I wanted to say a few things.

Everybody at this school was so nice to me. Whenever I needed help, or I did not understand something, somebody helped me. There was not a single person in this school I have met and I did not like. Even if I did not know a person they offered help, asked if everything was okay, and was interested in what I had to say. That was really impressive to me.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere at Lincoln while I was here. It is a really special one. Everybody is so kind and understanding, and I always had the feeling that there was no judgement about anything at this school. I have never experienced that before.

Also, I am really amazed by all the outside activities Lincoln has. All this opportunities you have as a student are so great. At that point, I want to say that I am really grateful that I was able to perform at Our Steps, and also that I was able to be a part of Lincoln Lion Tales.

Jennifer Schwarz at Our Steps in October 2018, right before the performance (Jennifer Schwarz/Lincoln Lion Tales)

The dance program at Lincoln is awesome, and you can learn so much about dancing, but also about confidence and how to trust yourself. Here a special thanks to my dance teacher Mr. George. Also I wanted to say, that I am really impressed by Lion Tales. It is a really good and updated newspaper, and it was so fun for me to write stories for Lion Tales. Thank you to Mr. Alpers who taught me so much, not only about the English language, but also about writing and society.

I had quite some struggle with writing in English. Sometimes it just happened that a sentence I wrote did not make any sense. Sentence structure in English and German is very different. Also, in Germany we learn British English, so there are quite a lot of words which are different. Once I said ¨cinema” because we learned that word in school, but then my cousin told me that in the United States everybody says ¨movie theater.¨

However, I learned a lot about English language. First rule: do not use the word ¨cinema¨. Although, of course not only that. I did not know that one should not use contractions. In addition, I learned not to use ¨you¨ in an essay, and of course a lot of new words. However, there is still a lot to learn for me.

Also, my other teachers Ms. Montgomery, Ms. Corman, Ms. Newton, and Ms. Robey were so kind and helpful. I was really lucky to have such great teachers.

There have been so many memories created while I stayed here in San Jose, and a lot of them are connected with Lincoln. I have always dreamed of going to a High School Football Game, and here I had the opportunity. I had so much fun at Lincoln, and I found really good friends who are really nice persons.

That probably sounds a little bit ingratiatory, but it is true. I am really happy for all the students who can spend all of their four High School years at Lincoln and graduate from here; you are really lucky.

What really surprised me at Lincoln was the fact that here are so many students who can not really speak English. I mean, I thought that I would have problems with understanding the language because it is not my first language. However, I had a lot of students in my classes who did not understand any English, and it really surprised me.

I always asked myself: how should these students learn and get good grades, if they do not even understand what is going on in class? I did not expect this, and it made me really sad to see how many students are struggling.

Castle in Disneyland in Anaheim during a trip in fall break 2018 (Jennifer Schwarz/Lincoln Lion Tales)

However, I learned so much while I was here in the United States, and also had so much fun. Not only at school, but also on all the different activities outside of school and all the trips I went to. For example, Disneyland, San Francisco, and Capitola.

Even if that probably sounds like a stereotype, I learned how to be brave and stand up for myself and others. In addition, all the people I have met taught me to be more open-minded. They taught me how to think about things from a different perspective, and not be judgemental. And I also learned so much about myself, and about what I really want.

That is why I wanted to say thank you LHS. Thank you for being so kind and welcoming. Thank you for so many memories. And thank you for so many amazing people I have met here.