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The Centaurian

A Culture of Change


“My friends, you are the future.”

Dr. Young, known to the CCHS community as Ms. Young, continues to foster the next generation of changemakers. Her relentless dedication to supporting our students, our curriculum, our society, is undeniably inspirational.

Through both content and craft, she encourages her students to pursue excellence in all forms, and embrace our capacity to question the status quo. As she colors her lectures with artful, deliberate gestures, she engages students with her energy and dialogue. In her classroom, critical thinking is inspired; critical thinking is ignited.

Our socratic seminars and everyday conversations challenge the dominant narrative, as we explore the depths of our people’s history. Those cast to the margins, are brought to the center of our minds as we deconstruct our false narratives about our nation’s foundation. And we find ourselves reflected in these stories, in these truths. We see history in the lens of those who were stripped of the privilege to be written in our textbooks.

When the curriculum becomes heavy (as the truth served raw and real must be), she says: “this is not easy work; this is important work.” And work we do. Every day, we as students show up. We show up ready to learn the hard history, no matter how challenging or uncomfortable it may make us feel. Our feelings have safe haven to be expressed, yes. But they do not stop us from continuing to search for those truths.

Our dedication is fueled by Ms. Young’s tireless work spent in front of and behind the scenes of building and piloting curriculum. From Ethnic Studies to AP African American Studies, Ms. Young has spearheaded several different courses within CCHS. Amid her many responsibilities, nonetheless, we can always count on Ms. Young to start the day with a smile on her face and a “how are you doing?”

Because while I’ve been using the term “students,” none of us have ever felt that way in her classroom. Instead, we’ve always felt like “people.” Our grades, our academic prowess, our standardized-test-taking ability, came second. Our individuality, our holistic integrity, our humanity, came first.

In all facets of my life, I’ve become empowered to speak about various systemic issues that we face as a society. Whether it be about race and gender, or educational pedagogy and the criminal justice system, Ms. Young has given us a language to speak about these politically vexed topics. Moreover, she’s taught us how to identify and work toward rectifying the manner in which we speak about and advocate for change.

We are incredibly lucky to have a teacher like Ms. Young at CCHS. Thank you, Ms. Young, for cultivating a culture of change.

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About the Contributor
Emi Sakamoto
Emi Sakamoto, Staff Writer
Hi, I'm Emi Sakamoto, a senior at CCHS. Through a concentration in opinion pieces, I hope to uproot various social issues and explore them through a dynamic lens. Aside from Journalism, I preside as the 76th Chief Justice of California, Co-President of Speech and Debate, English Curriculum Director of One Step Ahead, Treasurer of Vote 16, and founder of Poetry4Progress.

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    Jill ThomasNov 13, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    Ms. Young is the best! I’m incredibly lucky to have taught with and alongside her in Oakland. She continues her good work with so much passion and fire!