The Cycle of Impact: A Gift for a Gift


photo courtesy of Sarah Meadows

Volunteering at a local elementary school is one way to positively impact the community.

Sarah Meadows, photojournalist

For ten years, Yorba Linda High School has been cultivating the young, malleable minds of the world’s next generation of leaders. Someday, the brilliant students of YL will surely blossom into the next Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson, or Mother Theresa.  “Someday,” however, is too out of sight. Today, these same ambitious boys and girls strive to establish a bright future by promoting positivity and dedication during the present. Presently, the students who decide to positively impact their own lives in terms of taking leadership, enhancing academics, appreciating athletics, and being involved in service, also positively impact the lives of those around them.


By taking on leadership roles, students seize the opportunity to impact the community. ASB, or the school’s Associated Student Body, is a program in which the leaders of the school convene into one class in order to carry out the needs of the school and the community. Recently, for instance, Yorba Linda High School’s ASB and Esperanza High School’s ASB hosted school wide canned food drives in which the two schools competed against each other. Sterling Millsap (10), an ASB member, elaborated that, “Being in ASB is far more than feeling connected to one’s school. It’s feeling connected to one’s community. ASB members from different schools all know each other and work together under one common goal: to help our community.”


By enhancing academics, students seize the opportunity to impact the community. As college entrance is becoming more and more competitive, students have learned to blend together academic success and extracurricular involvement. Amaya Colburn (12) admitted that, “A lot of people do not particularly like the extracurricular that they are involved in, but they continue and persist in order to appear not only academically sound, but also well-rounded to the colleges.” Many of these extracurriculars give directly back to the community itself. Moreover, pressing the importance of academics gives back to the community indirectly as well because those who educate themselves thoroughly will eventually be the thinkers of the next generations.


By appreciating athletics, students seize the opportunity to impact the community. Athletes create a tight-knit environment that brings the community together. Yorba Linda High School’s football games, for example, are a highly-anticipated event that individuals of all ages look forward to. Rhys Weingarten (11), a varsity Yorba Linda High School football player, explained that, “There aren’t very many centralized points in Yorba Linda that people flock to. Most people go to Anaheim Hills or another nearby city, but the games being played in the center of the city with the school literally being called ‘Yorba Linda High School’ helps bring the community together and create a sense of identity.” Additionally, athletes who have graduated from Yorba Linda High School and go on to play in college or even professionally bring the city of Yorba Linda together as they cheer on the players under a sense of true commonality.


By being involved in service, students seize the opportunity to impact the community. Yorba Linda High School has access to many clubs that either offer or require community service with membership. In addition, in order to graduate, one must complete 40 service hours. For many students, however, being involved in service is more of a “want” than a “need.” Anjolie Jang (11), who volunteers at the Yorba Linda Public Library, described that, “volunteering connects me to the community because as a volunteer I am able to make a difference in the community with the service I do.” Alhees Basharmal (11), who also volunteers at the Yorba Linda Public Library, described that, “Every Saturday I wake up at 8:00 AM and go to volunteer at the YLPL for family story time. Most people would find that boring or wonder why I don’t just sleep in; however, once I arrive, I feel an instant need to put on my fun face and get in the “zone” for the sake of the kids. I make sure to be extra weird because the kids like it, and their laughter always fills the room. It definitely gives me a feeling of connection to them and hence, my community. I feel like I am helping them by making their Saturday mornings a bit more fun!”


Thus, whether it is in leadership, academics, athletics, or service, the students of Yorba Linda High School use their gifts to their advantage in order to give back to the city of Yorba Linda for the grand gift of the school itself ten years ago. In turn, the city of Yorba Linda perceives the students of Yorba Linda High School as grateful, talented, and simply gifted. It’s simple: a gift for a gift.