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DOWNEY – Columbus High School is a small high school nestled in Downey with the simple mission of “providing a safe and non-threatening environment that emphasizes a multiethnic and multicultural educational program directed toward the diverse and changing needs of its students;” but is such a goal really necessary?
“Majority of the students come here to either make up credits,” said school office manager Linda James. “Or, and many of them [do], choose to graduate with us. We help them make-up credits and they can graduate early if they’re really working hard.”
Many rumors have been around the other high schools that Columbus passes out credits like candy. Like most rumors, this one is false. The students have to work for the credits they receive just as much as any other student at Downey or Warren. But rather than sitting in class and listening to a lecture, these students have to complete thorough packets which they are only allowed to work on while at school in order to receive just one credit. Sure, this seems like a fairly easy assignment, but consider that a Downey or Warren student must only sit in class and do the bare minimum in order to receive five full credits. The weight of the work is incredibly even at this point.
Columbus students only have to receive 190 credits in order to graduate. This seems very unfair to the local high schools because those schools require their students to receive 220 credits to graduate. However, it is much easier to earn five credits at Downey or Warren than it is to earn five at Columbus. Not to mention, the credits earned at Columbus do not include the 30 elective credits that Downey and Warren both require to graduate. Columbus does not offer Fine Arts or Foreign Language or other electives, they have the classes that students need.
The students at Columbus have been doted with harsh words such as lazy, slacker, druggie, and idiot. Their school is even referred to as “Colum-dumb.” But none of these titles are deserved. There are many students at Columbus that are genuinely there because they fear the idea of a big school or are very deficient in the English language, said James. Yes, many of them may be lazy, and some of them may be delinquents, but the difference between these students and high school dropouts, are that these students try.
Currently there are 359 students enrolled and 13 teachers teaching, and there are many more students signed up for Columbus next semester.
Published: February 5, 2010 – Volume 8 – Issue 42