Doesn’t anyone at THHS want to be a circus trainer?

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Townsend Harris seems unique to strangers, or perhaps we only like to think that we’re unique.

We have themed music blaring in the hallways instead of loud, obnoxious bells dismissing the classrooms. Teachers assign sporadic collaterals as opposed to regular projects. Freshmen are required to take a writing class for the first semester, and it becomes a prerequisite for sophomores and juniors to take Latin or Greek as a full year course.

Nonetheless, while students may be different in their intrigues and styles, the final results never change. Each student’s goal coincides with that of every other kid at Townsend: education stands as a top priority for the majority of the 1,100 students attending.

Most of the students I speak with seem to want a career in either the medical field as a doctor specializing in a specific area or in the field of law, serving as an attorney to protect and represent the Bill of Rights. These professions, deemed as the “highest paying” or the “most intelligent,” lure students into thinking that they are the sole career options available.

But things are different in Townsend Harris; these kids know what they’re getting into when they arrive, so what could ignite these predictable, but complacent ambitions?

The answer lies in the parents of each child. Parents shove their kids in these directions, pushing them to get the best possible education so they may be able to become a renowned (and well-paid) doctor or a renowned (and well-paid) lawyer.

Granted, they seem to always have the best thoughts in mind for their child, but what becomes of the world when all creativity is lost and each mind is no different from the next?

It’s often said that “Great minds think alike.”

No. I don’t think so. Great minds are supposed to be distinguished and individualized, but we can’t have that if everyone goes after the same thing.

Children don’t want to disappoint their parents by rebelling against their desires. Call me an optimist, but I think a large percentage of the school is respectful and courteous, having been brought up that way. Knowingly, parents believe that they possess the ability to control the future of their child. Having a doctor or a lawyer in the family can instantly give parents bragging rights, a guarantee that their child is well-off and educated, and the belief that they’ve turned out to be successful as parental figures.

There’s nothing wrong with becoming a doctor or a lawyer if that’s what you really want to do in life. But when people sketch out your entire existence according to their own desires, something definitely must have gone awry.

How can the child possibly be happy if he doesn’t get the chance to discover what he wants and how he wants to accomplish it? What about all the other professions that don’t even get considered because of their hypothetical low-statures?

Will the creativity, courage and spontaneity disappear from this generation completely? What about all the other vocations, from marine biologists to circus trainers to make-up artists?  There’s so much more out there.

If we cannot truly “think outside of the box” when it comes to our futures then can we really claim to be the unique, creative, and artistic school we are known to be?