Class of 2021
Two-time State Champion Golfer, member of Youth Legislature, and student government member, Leila is one of many strong members of the Sage Ridge community.
Taking on several different leadership positions for activism in the community, Leila has spent much of her time during high school contributing to impactful changes in both the Reno community as well as the Sage Ridge community.
The Sage Ridge day is split into 6, 1-hour class blocks with a morning break and mid-day lunch placed evenly between. Students take 8 classes and drop 2 each day.
Leila is clearly an extremely active participant of the community. Still, Leila is, as expected, a very normal and humorous high school student. Discussing her daily routine, she mentioned that she does the same things as everyone else -- she wakes up, goes through a morning routine, and heads out to school. Arriving about five minutes early every morning, Leila goes to class.
8-9 AM | American Literature
Using as its backdrop a survey of American letters from the colonial period to the present, American Literature CP examines the complex and manifold relationships among language, thought, and action as it pertains to the development of American culture.
“American Literature is a hard class because there is a lot of reading, especially of books that are not exactly written in a spoken language, but Mr. Sloyan helps guide students in the right direction when analyzing writing and understanding it. I love being able to read an extremely challenging book and then being able to analyze it and understand the claim of the book.” Again, it is clear that Leila enjoys learning, especially in the context of the relationships she forms with her teacher.
9-10 AM | Precalculus
This course covers the full spectrum of trigonometry including dual definitions in terms of the unit circle and right triangles, analytic trigonometry, polar coordinates with complex numbers, analytic geometry, parametrics, and transcendental functions.
As shown, Leila recognizes the important role her teachers play in her education and Leila feels that despite Precalculus being a difficult subject, she “always looks forward to going to that class,” since she states that “Mr. Thibault is one of the kindest and most supportive” teachers.
10-10:25 AM | Break
Sometimes, Leila will do homework during break but as part of her Student Government duties, she will sometimes spend her breaks running the Snack Bar in the Student Loft.
10:25-11:25 AM | Study Hall
Leila says that this is the “best time to just chill out, refresh, do some work, and restart.” The work that she does during her study hall varies every day, and she gets as much done as she can in order to make her after school schedule less hectic. However, since her break and lunch period is usually filled with some activity, her study hall acts as one of her only breaks before continuing on with her busy day.
11:25-12:25 AM | Ceramics
Students create both functional and decorative sculptural objects and these projects are used as the basis of exploration of personal aesthetic ideas. Extended hand building techniques, decorating, glazing, and firing types are explored.
Leila mentions that Ceramics is an extremely fun, relaxing, and calming class. This is a time where her creativity is able to shine, especially because it is “taught by one of the most creative and funny teachers,” Mr. Brown. While she works on Ceramics, she is often able to talk to her peers and Mr. Brown to make the time even more relaxing.
12:25-1:15 PM | Lunch
Just as with break, Leila almost always has something to do during lunch. Whether it be a student government meeting, running Snack Bar in the Loft, or something else, she is generally occupied at this time. If she isn’t made busy with a club, she generally works on homework during this “free time” in an empty classroom. She enjoys lunch because by this time, she is usually hungry and the food she eats gives her the energy to go through the rest of the day. As a result, Leila believes that the last two classes after lunch are the “peak of the day”, since this is the time when she is the “most attentive.”
1:15 PM - 2:15 | Spanish III/Pre-AP
The goal of Pre-AP Spanish is to prepare students for taking AP Spanish Language in the following year. Class is conducted in Spanish only and consists of higher level discussions inspired by cultural themes introduced from the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam.
Leila describes Mr. Garzon as the “kindest and most loving teacher” with the “sweetest heart.” In addition, Mr. Garzon is “extremely supportive” to all his students, recognizing the difficulty of learning a second language. Because of this, she loves the environment in this class. Reflecting on how the class has gone this year, she mentioned one memory from the class that highlights how personalized her experience at a small school like Sage Ridge has been: “When I won state [for Golf] for the second year in a row, Senor Garzon sang me a 'champion' song in Spanish, which was very sweet!”
2:15 PM - 3:15 | Art Mash Up
How can we use the inherent qualities of materials to inspire our working process and the content of our work? How can we create meaning by layering images, techniques, and materials? Mash Up Studio Art depends heavily on considering the process of making and how it informs artists as they work.
Leila spends her Elective Period in another class with Mr. Brown. She mentions how in this class, Mr. Brown is very “calm and understanding” of mistakes and encourages them to make a perfectly welcoming learning environment.
Two classes are dropped each day, but here is a glimpse at what else enriches Leila's experience:
This course explores major themes in contemporary general chemistry with emphasis on the connection between seemingly abstract molecular interactions and human-scale, observable and often measurable processes.
As shown, Leila recognizes the important role her teachers play in her education and development as a student. For Chemistry, she appreciates the amount of effort that Dr. de Lancey puts into ensuring that students are able to learn such a complicated subject. “I absolutely love Dr. D and his class! He takes a really hard subject to learn and makes it fun and learnable. He is extremely supportive of students and his emphasis on how he will always make or have time for his students is very kind and appreciated.”
The U.S. History survey course covers American history from pre-contact to the present. Using chronological and thematic approaches to the material, the course exposes students to extensive primary and secondary sources and to the interpretations of various historians.
Leila enjoys her history class with Dr. Sullivan very much. Particularly, she feels that Dr. Sullivan is a great teacher who makes the class better for her: “I love Dr. Sullivan's vast knowledge about the topics we talk about, and her great sense of humor.”
After school, Leila will sometimes go home, but she often has golf practice or, once a month, a meeting for Nevada Youth Legislature, a program that allows students to work closely with 21 Nevada State Senators, Assemblymen and Assemblywomen, and other members of the Nevada Youth Legislature to create a bill that is presented to the state legislature during the year to solve a problem of the students’ choice. “It’s a great process!” she mentioned about working in the program.
Currently, Leila’s first idea for a bill is one that would enforce mental health education in schools, for both students and teachers, throughout the community. “Mental health struggles are everywhere in schools but unfortunately, since they’re never taught how to, teachers don’t know how to deal with these issues.” Her second idea for a bill recommends the implementation of age-appropriate sex ed throughout a student’s schooling, as she believes this will solve many problems that are too present in society today in an effective manner.
“Education is key.” As I was interviewing Leila, several students in the classroom chimed in, mentioning how strongly they believed in the issues that Leila has been actively fighting for. Using her daily experiences as a teenager and interactions with her peers, Leila is not only able to understand the issues that are most important to the community around her, but she is also able to take action to remediate these issues.
These traits extend to Leila’s success as a golfer. During the golf season, Leila golfs and practices every day after school. Specifically, she mentions how there is a negative stereotype of many of the people she plays with in the 2A division. She says that she finds fun in “proving those people [making the stereotypes] wrong and motivating everyone.” This experience, for her, has taught her a lot about how substantive people truly are.
In addition, she has learned a lot of other lessons in self-advocacy through the sport. She again mentions that in addition to the stereotyping, there is a lot of disrespect and discrimination present in the golfing community and management. Instead of allowing this to discourage her, however, Leila, as the resilient advocate she is, reacts by saying that “You learn how to deal with it and tell people ‘that ain’t right!’”
Despite her success as a student, leader, and golfer, Leila continuously mentioned how much she has learned through her experiences. By taking advantage of these experiences, Leila has clearly been able to grow immensely as a person, learning life lessons and skills that even many adults still lack. She isn’t completely sure about what the future will hold, but through her leadership and advocacy skills, we’re confident she will have success!
- Interview by Aryan Shukla ('20)