10-31-2017 – Norco – Meet Kazim Ali. He is a senior at John F. Kennedy Middle College High School (JFK).
He made the change from traditional high school to JFK his junior year. Currently, he maintains a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.68.
Making the change was a great decision for Kazim. He has a good relationship with teachers and enjoys the campus environment.
“I saw that coming to JFK was more of a logical choice because I have free college here,” said Kazim.
He considers his teachers to be just like college professors.
“When you go to college, you’re actually a little bit more comfortable talking to a professor or just relating to them,” he said.
With about 600 students, the campus environment at JFK is one of a family.
“That’s a really great thing about JFK,” he said, “It’s a family. It honestly is. We have a lot of teachers that are really open and if you have any problems, you can just go talk to them.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Kazim this year,” said Petria Gonzalez, JFK Principal, “It’s been so great to meet him.”
He credits JFK for helping him become more social because of the small campus family environment.
“When I came here junior year, I was really unable to talk to people,” said Kazim, “I feel JFK has really opened me up.”
The number one challenge for Kazim at JFK was learning how to manage his time to get his work done.
“That’s the hardest part about JFK,” he said, “Trying to get your work done because you come here and there’s so much freedom.”
He spaces out his college classes from his regular high school classes so he has enough time throughout the day to do his homework. He says JFK has helped prepare him for college.
A challenge for Kazim at JFK was learning how to be more social.
“Last year, all my friends were seniors,” he said, “So when they left, I was like whoa, who am I going to be friends with?”
The small family-friendly environment at JFK helped him make new friends.
“I think that’s been the hardest part,” he said.
Another big challenge for Kazim has been the honor college courses he has taken.
“Those are much, much harder,” he said, “But when universities look at it, it looks really good.”
Kazim is very involved on campus. During his junior year, he was president of the film club. This year, he is part of the photography club.
“There is other clubs here like Unity that really focus on having that JFK friendly environment where you could just speak out,” said Kazim.
One thing Kazim loves about JFK is the small environment.
“You know everybody in the hallway,” he said, “You become acquaintances with everybody. It’s really nice and it’s a really friendly environment. You’d be surprised, you just walk in the hallway and you say hi to everybody.”
One of his favorite courses during his time at JFK has been History of Motion Pictures. The yearlong class consisted of watching movies and learning how to analyze them.
“I’m so interested in film and learning more about it,” said Kazim, “That class was so much fun.”
His favorite hobby is film and photography. Despite spending hours editing videos, the results are always worth it.
“Sometimes, I don’t even plan it. I just love the fact that I can grab my camera, go, grab my shots, and make a really, good project out of it,” said Kazim, “I think the best thing about JFK is that you can almost do anything here, in my case, it’s just pick up a camera and see what I can do with it.”
On his spare time, Kazim enjoys photography and going on adventures, especially exploring the outdoors.
His top three travel destinations are Iceland, Switzerland, and somewhere in Europe.
“This past summer I was actually in Britain for a month,” he said, “My family lives there so I stayed with my aunt.”
His favorite part during his time in Britain was visiting Stonehenge.
“We went out to the countryside and stayed out there,” he said, “It was really, really fun.”
He has traveled all over California.
His most recent adventure was going to Joshua Tree with his uncle to see the meteor shower.
“It’s just fun,” said Kazim, “I’ll have a free weekend so I’ll go to Big Bear or Joshua Tree.”
His biggest mentor is his dad.
“He’s shown me that you can get a lot done by just getting your work done,” said Kazim.
His dad encourages him to travel and explore new places.
Kazim is unsure of what his plans are after graduation. He has narrowed it down to a few options – go straight to a 4-year university, continue at Norco College, or take a gap year.
Since he has already taken college courses at Norco College, Kazim has the option to continue his education there or transfer his units to a 4-year university.
His advice to students who are unsure about applying to JFK is, just go for it.
“You should just come here,” he said, “I guarantee you’ll like it. It’s great here, like I said, it’s a big family.”