Just Jones

Everything To Help


Happy New Year! I’m so glad to be back in the building, starting my 2023 off still crying over calculus, anxiously awaiting college decisions, and avoiding the near ending of my time here at Parker. I originally intended on writing my first column of 2023 on New Year’s resolutions of mine. As I sat brainstorming my new list of to-do’s: Get my Driver’s License, Learn to cook, Read 50 books… I couldn’t ignore the more pressing topic I wanted to address: my education. 

Though every institution has its flaws, there is so much to love about this place. From our teachers, to classes, to clubs, and to our community, Parker has transformed my perception of what education is and what it should be. I feel the need to say thank you. As a timid eighth grader, I came into our model home running away from striped ties, navy school blazers, house points, and British accents, and as I get my key to the house this June, I realize how school has given more to me than I ever could have imagined. 

Recalling one of my first Parker memories, I remember sitting in Mr. Fuder’s room watching him explain the masks hanging off of the ceiling, the quotes flailing off of the walls, and the names inscribed hundreds of times over on the desk chair in the back corner. Somewhere in between egg drop labs and telenovelas, I fell in love with my progressive education. Though I haven’t been here to earn the critically acclaimed “14-year-gang” name, I still grew up within these walls, and for the past five years, I have been blessed with Parker’s immense opportunities and resources. I’ve been lucky enough to travel, to hear and engage with current U.S. Senators and Oscar-nominated actors, to use 3D printers and high-quality technology, and so much more. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that these resources have completely enhanced the quality of my education, and for that I am beyond grateful. But this building is nothing without the people who keep it functioning. This school building is nothing without our teachers. Parker’s faculty members possess a kind of contagious enthusiasm that has helped me fall in love with learning.  So much of what makes Parker’s walls feel like another home to me wouldn’t exist without the faculty who work here. 

Education is impossible without challenges, and I’ve experienced nothing but relentless encouragement from teachers providing unwavering support to help me overcome mine, and in doing so modeling the values Parker seeks to instill in its students. And so after the Project Veritas scandal, my classmates and I were more than willing to stand by a member of our tribe.

This unconventional journey of healing for the past two months has been a team effort, one which none of us would have been able to without the help of all functioning parts of our model home. It is so critical to realize here that when we come together to actually take advantage of the privileges we have, and when we voice our opinions, something really special happens. We can inspire change and foster meaningful relationships with each other. 

What unnerved me so much about our December Project Veritas scandal was how many people thought that we as Parker students were victims to our education. This portrayal of us is wildly inaccurate. Project Veritas’ supporters think we have nothing to do with the education and curriculum at Parker. They have no idea that we are active proponents in what we learn and how we learn. And they have no idea that we as Parker students propel our own education and that we are unafraid to defend it.

Parker is founded on principles of whole child education and free thought. My Parker education has taught me to strive for greatness but in a way that helps others. It taught me to be kind, overly-inclusive, and it taught me to always keep going–no matter who or what gets in the way. Thanks to Parker, I value outside thinking and collaboration. I have been taught to assert myself and stand up for what I believe in. As Parker students, we are taught to be multifaceted and compassionate people who care about not only each other but the world. We are global, social citizens and we know better than to stand idly by and accept homophobia as an excuse to deny us the kind of inclusive education that we want, need, and deserve. 

As a wise Dean of Students once told me, “Let everything happen for you, not to you.” It is who we are as human beings that counts in the end. There is so much love that exists in this building. The people we’ve become here and met here are forever. I am proud to be a student here, and I am proud to engage in this inclusive, progressive, diverse education. 

You know you love me, 

Rania Jones