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By Mae Mastin, Joliet West

Thanksgiving is coming up! Here’s a list of (just some of) the things I’m grateful for at Joliet West.

1. Our school community
Joliet West is truly an amazing community. Since I’ve been here, I’ve felt accepted and like I am important part of it and seen a lot of other people find their place, too; I am thankful to the administration, teachers, and student body for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. Every time I’m on social media, I feel so proud of my school as I scroll through pages and pages of awards, opportunities, community services, encouragement, and other amazing outcomes from Joliet West people.
2. Our principal
Joliet West has an awesome principal. I believe that she is the reason we have such a great community: she helps foster positivity, unity, and success. Her involvement in school activities is inspiring me—she personally administers AP practice exams in the spring to help prepare students, stands outside her office to talk to kids during passing periods, and is always willing to give an in-person interview for a young journalist.
3. Our amazing teachers
I’ve never had a bad teacher. Every single teacher that I’ve had at West has taught me something important about myself and my abilities. I see how hard they work to make sure we succeed, how much they believe in us, and how much they care about our futures. And, more than supporting us academically, Joliet West teachers care about our health and well-being, which I appreciate more than ever in my busy junior year.
4. The opportunities we’re offered
I have encountered so many new opportunities since coming to West. Every weekday in the morning and the afternoon (and sometimes during the day) there are club meetings that cover a range of interests; if you can’t find something that interests you, you are encouraged to start your own group. Actors and actresses, writers, singers, mathletes, trivia lovers, future medical professionals, gardeners, volunteers, and multiple other interests have a place to go. Students can volunteer for events at West and in the Joliet community through clubs or on their own by hearing about opportunities at school. Teachers and club sponsors give their students ideas for jobs, internships, contests, and scholarships. Outside of academia, West is helping is shape our own futures doing things we love.
5. Our diversity
A dean at our school once gave a talk to a club in which I participate and said that he loves West because we are so diverse: we are part of a school that includes students from multiple races, religions, and socioeconomic statuses. In my very small corner of West (in my classes, clubs, and activities) I can think of students that I know from four different countries across the world who fluently speak another language; in the entire school, I’m sure there are so many more. I think it’s amazing to see so many cultures in one place, and I’m glad I get to be part of it!  

What are you grateful for at your school? Please comment! Or, if you can, post what you’re grateful for on social media using #thanks(yourschool) and tag me or send me a screenshot (through the comments on this post)…

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