Patriot Voices: How I Found My Community

By 9th Grader, Alyssa Chen

As a freshman and a new student at CDS, finding a community or forming friendships seemed pretty scary. But as soon as I arrived on my first day of orientation, I connected with people I knew I would be able to call my own. 

The community that I formed, of friends and acquaintances, has supported me for the three months of school that have passed. One of my favorite events that I’ve gone to with them was the Homecoming dance:

Homecoming 2023

Homecoming was the first school dance I’d been to that I genuinely wanted to put effort into, and my friends were with me the entire way. Two hours before the dance, we met up for dinner and had one of the best meals of my life – it was fun, relaxing, and genuinely happy. During the dance, I was able to hang out with my friends and mingle among people from different grades. There was one moment, where we were all dancing to the Cha Cha Slide and I just looked around and saw everyone laughing and smiling. That happiness and sense of belonging is what truly makes this school a family.

Through the following months, I realized how much of a community CDS builds. At public schools, you lose yourself in a sea of other students, and the administrators rarely know your name. But at CDS, faculty and staff will say hello, everyone knows everyone, and there is seldom any conflict. Personally, it was a breath of fresh air. 

Community is a sense of belonging, friendliness, and acceptance without pretending you are someone else.Community means having a support system you can rely on, where you feel comfortable being yourself and expressing your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. It is a place where you can grow and thrive, surrounded by people who share your values and interests.That is what I think CDS is trying, and succeeding, to do.