It was approximately four years ago when a bunch of 9th grade students were gathered in H204. Some of us were new comers to Açı and some of us have already been in Açı. The only thing we had in common was that we were not taking French classes and that we were anxiously waiting for our teacher to come to the classroom. At that moment, I was not aware of the fact that this class and that teacher would change my high school career so deeply. Our teacher finally came and introduced herself. She told that her name is Terry and that we will be spending 4-5 classes a week with her for the whole year. Then, she started to explain the curriculum she had prepared, which was in short teaching us English but in an unusual way.
When I started high school, my level of English was good for an average school but intermediate for a good school. Açı must have been so good that for a while, I was not able to comprehend much of what was being discussed in Ms. Terry’s classes. We were generally talking about media, issues like freedom of speech and also talking about other issues like euthanasia and etc. The class started to become a journalism/debate class in which were discussing politics and then preparing for a debate that would be held in front of the whole school. In the meantime, there was this idea of having a school newspaper, which would be started by our class. After putting some thought on it we came up with the name “The Right Angle” and started to plan what we were going to do. After months of work, TRA published its first issue in January 2010. At that time, the newspaper was not online but it was printed. That year we published two more issues and we were only a group of 9.
TRA has now more than 40 participants and is an online newspaper, which is very unique among the high schools in Turkey. As a matter of fact, some students from Turkey’s most prestigious schools seem to be jealous about TRA. They should be, because TRA has grown to organize international competitions and is something that we have to hold on to as a school.
TRA is not only a newspaper; it is one of the best examples of ALE (Açı Learning Experience). In the past four years, I have learned to think critically and holistically about certain subjects, which I believe is an asset that even politicians don’t have today. Apart from that, it is a success which not only its participants but also all the students in Açı should be proud of. Personally, I am very proud of being one of the founders of TRA and working for the past four years for this great newspaper.
Although it seems that this article is a farewell, I don’t feel like I am leaving TRA primarily because I can contribute to TRA whenever I want to. I am confident that our succeeding students will make a great job holding on to this newspaper. The real responsibility belongs to the whole Açı family, which is reading, supporting and sharing TRA whenever they can, so that this successful project can continue to be active as long as Açı is there.