Who am I?

My name is Bismark Menocal Salazar, Senior at Common Ground High School. I was born and raised in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I moved to the U.S. in 2012 mainly as a result of the lack of high-quality education in Costa Rica. I am writing today as a proud student of Common Ground High School, as someone who understands first hand the impact that Common Ground can have on a student’s life. I am writing as someone who understands how much Common Ground means to its students. I come from a place in Costa Rica, where the education system, unfortunately, has low expectations for its students, a place where few students show pride for their work and for their school. I too showed very little pride for my work, as I felt that the whole system didn’t truly believe in us, in our potential.

When I came to Common Ground, all of this changed. I was surprised to see a school that truly understands its students, that truly cares about the lives of its students, a school that believes in its students, and leaves no student behind. In my sophomore year, I had a class called English 10 which mainly focused on the idea of sense of place. This class not only taught me how to be a better writer, it taught me to appreciate what I have. What was interesting and especially important about this class is that it didn't just focus on writing skills, it focused on giving students an identity, and on making us better leaders. I cherish Common Ground because unlike any other school I have been in, Common Ground didn't only focus on the prescribed curriculum, but also on making me a better student, better person, better leader.