Kyleigh: As a child, I lived in Fairfield where I was picked on a lot and I never really had friends. I had more acquaintances than actual friends. I was bullied a lot and I never told my parents about it because I didn’t want anyone judging me. So I dealt with being picked on throughout elementary school. Once elementary school ended my parents told me that we were moving to Benicia. When I found out I was very scared and uncomfortable. I didn’t really want to move but I knew it was for the best and that it was going to be hard to put myself out there and make friends. The first day I went to school in Benicia I felt nervous, but welcomed at the same time. I put myself in a position to make friends and I felt accepted at my new school. Where in Fairfield I was scared to even go to school. There was a time where I had gone to the bathroom and these girls walked in and kicked open the door while I was using the bathroom. As time went on I started to like Benicia. I liked the school, and the way they taught. My education at my old school was terrible. I wasn’t really understanding the concepts and I wasn’t the brightest student. In Benicia I love the way they teach us. I like how they have a lot of different variety of classes we can choose from. I love living in Benicia. I like how I can be myself and express myself. For example I’m more outgoing and more socialized. Living in Benicia has been a great opportunity for me to grow.
" New Beginnings " By Kyleigh
Madison: I had lived in the Bay Area before I moved to Halifax. I was born in Berkeley but grew up in El Sobrante. My mom, sister, and I moved to Canada in december of 2010 because my mom found a good job. Strangely it wasn't the job she ended up with when we moved back here. I had lived in Canada for over five years. I made many friends throughout that time and became accustom to the lifestyle there. Despite how comfortable I was in Canada, I missed the energy of the Bay Area. The kids in the area where I lived were friendly but were also reserved and everyone tried to conform. There were also many cliques at my school and people there could be judgemental. If someone was different they were alone or outcasts. I was lucky to find the caring friends I did. Moving back to California was sort of a mutual decision I made with my family however kind of regretted it when the time came to leave all my friends behind. I arrived back in California at the beginning of August 2016 and had an amazing summer, enjoying the great weather and familiar faces of the rest of my family. I tried not to think about what my new school would be like and pushed these thoughts to the back of my mind. I wanted summer to last forever. I don’t think the realization that I had move came to me until I started the first day at Benicia High. However after I got through the first week It didn't take too long for me to adjust. Despite some differences of each town, both Benicia, and my old home Bedford, have many similarities. They are both small communities on the ocean with roughly the same population. I sort of see Benicia as the new and improved Bedford. It has aspects of my old home that I love, such as the small joint community, along with new aspects -- great people here who are accepting and friendly.
" The Heart of Benicia " By Madison
Reese: My move to Benicia was not the first. I had moved at least twice before, and twice within Benicia since. However, my move to Benicia had the most positive effect on me by far. Before Benicia, I lived in a place in Santa Cruz County called Scotts Valley. The news of moving came as a great relief to me, as life as a seventh grader in Scotts Valley wasn’t going that well for me. My best friend, who was the main link in our friend group, moved away that year, leaving the group feeling disconnected. This factor only added to the weight of the new self-consciousness that every single kid in the grade suddenly suffered. This realization split the school into a hierarchy of three levels. To put it simply, the people in the middle level were the only ones doing okay. I found myself the subject of bullying, and unlike many people in the middle, I took many things that were said to heart. There's a saying that if you hear something long enough, you'll start to believe it. This certainly had a terrible effect on me at Scotts Valley. I ended up becoming more and more of a recluse, hiding myself away and putting myself in a shell, believing that any encounter with others was doomed to go wrong.
With the move to Benicia came a chance to start anew, but also a fear that it would be just the same as Scotts Valley- or rather as I thought then, that I would ruin myself like I had at Scotts Valley. I spent my first year of eighth grade hiding and reading in corners of the library, avoiding interaction. However, early in the year as I was still eating alone in the multi-purpose-room, I was pleasantly surprised when a group of kids said that I should come sit with them simply because they saw me all alone. I didn't talk to them much, but it was very kind and accepting of them. In fact, I found that many people at the school were nothing but accepting. Even moving onto high school, the kind atmosphere stayed. There’s a club or group for just about anyone here, and during my sophomore year, I found myself a place with the drama kids, who have often been like a family. We exchange compliments, cheer each other on, and comfort each other through rough times. Benicia overall has had the opposite effect of Scotts Valley on me. It has reversed much of the damage done, and helped me advance greatly socially.
" All Together " By Reese