My Portfolio

Carpe Diem High School

Philosophy of Education

I believe that education is the foundation of success in the world today. It is essential to have basic knowledge about the core subjects in order to have the competence to strive in life. Education is a key factor when determining career opportunities, and life opportunities as well. Primary education allows students to gain communication skills and time for them to mature both mentally and emotionally. Attaining a high school diploma will allow me to go on to college and will set me up to receive higher wages in the work world. Receiving an education has provided me with the knowledge and skills I need to prosper in life!

Prior to Carpe Diem, I was doing independent study through Valley Oaks. Although I maintained good grades, I spent minimal time doing my work, and lacked a sufficient schedule. I was not optimizing my time or learning, and definitely wasn’t fulfilling my potential. Integrating back into going to school everyday was surely a big change, but the schedule at Carpe Diem made it much easier. Sustaining good grades, attending school regularly, and avoiding disciplinary problems are all goals I set when arriving to Carpe. I have pushed myself to accomplish these goals, and will continue to do so.

Throughout the past year and a half that I spent as a student here, I have worked extremely hard to keep a 4.0 academic GPA and have accumulated enough credits to graduate a whole year early. I am so excited to attend Santa Rosa Junior College and begin my college journey at the young age of 17. My goal is to acquire the units I need at the SRJC, in order to transfer to a university such as UC Berkeley or UC San Diego. Since mathematics is something I strive at, I am going to major in business and find a niche in that field that fits me best. I once was told that “the quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves” which has inspired me to put my all into being the best version of myself. By consistently getting A’s in all of my academic classes, and being an active, contributing member in my school’s community, I have built genuine relationships with my teachers. It has benefited me on a plethora of levels, because I am constantly having open conversations with them, which furthers my comprehension on the topics we’re studying.

Education has lead me to learn many effective skills that I will practice for the rest of my life. I am responsible for myself and accountable for my actions. I have learned how to manage my time and school work, so that I can stay on top of assignments and maximize efficiency. That has lead me to improve my organization skills, which are definitely necessary. Another quality that is really important to me, that I continuously have had to practice, is respect. It reflects who you are as a person, based on how you treat others and learning that in high school will only help you out in the long run. In addition, patience, initiative, and responsibility are vital skills you will need, in order to be a well-rounded person. I am determined to further my education because it will help me accomplish my goals. I know I am capable of succeeding in college and sticking with what I desire to do. All the years of education I have received beforehand has prepared me to be a successful.


I really enjoy being in Ms. D’s class and appreciate her teaching methods. Ms. D is diligent about answering my questions, which really helps me comprehend assignments. I enjoy working on grammar activities and sentence corrections because it helps me improve my writing skills, in addition to reminding me of proper syntax. I appreciate the fact that Ms. D always makes sure to explain I also like writing hike reflections because I am glad we have the chance to go on hikes and it gives me a chance to identify my favorite parts of the day. I found that some of the Native American Myth & Legend assignments were difficult for me to understand because there is a lot of room for interpretation and I don’t always understand the figures of speech they used. As a teacher, I think Ms. D could improve by giving more time to complete assignments because they tend to compile if I am unable to finish it that class. I will work hard to be on task so that I am giving myself the most time possible to work on assignments.

An assignment I really enjoyed doing was the Sacred Weed assignment. It was challenging because you have to interpret the story through a Native American perspective. I like that it compared the white man's meaning for smoking, to the Native Americans meaning because it showed how sacred the weed was to the Native Americans. The assignment itself was to read the myth and answer the attached questions on google classroom. I found that I had to re-read the myth several times in order to fully understand how to answer each question. I chose this assignment in particular because I took my time to answer the questions thoroughly, even though it was challenging for me.

Another assignment I liked doing was the Childhood map. The assignment itself instructed us to create a map of one of our favorite childhood locations. Immediately I thought of all the years I spent hanging out at my best friend Emma’s house, which is conveniently located just 10 blocks west of downtown. We used to walk up and down those streets from school, to the phoenix, to her house nearly everyday and the memories are endless. I am extremely good with directions, so imagining the streets and their names was very easy. I had to create a rough draft so I could plan how much space I could a lot for each street, so I could highlight the most important locations. It was a little more difficult for me to have to draw the actual buildings and housings, because my art skills simply don’t do them justice.


Overall, my favorite class at Carpe Diem is Mr. Anderson’s. I think he has an excellent style of teaching and presents ideas from a neutral stance which allows his students to be able to see both sides of an event. I enjoy the topics he assigns that incorporate how U.S. history is relevant to modern day society. My favorite type of assignments are projects because I get to incorporate my individual style and artistic skills, while mastering the information on the particular topic. I found it difficult to do some of the assignments that had experts, quotes, or pictures and we had to answer multiple questions about each one. Sometimes I felt like my answers were just re-iterating each other because there is too little information to elaborate. I really appreciate for always answering my questions concisely and conversing about the topic with me so I can fully understand and gain insight on it.

An assignment I enjoyed completing, but also definitely challenged me was the Teddy Mini-Documentary. The directions were to research Teddy and gain a widespread of information about his childhood, accomplishments, philippines, and reasons why he was a progressive president. I wrote nearly 2 full pages summarizing the key points that were significant in Teddy’s life and created an i-Movie with pictures that were relevant to the time periods I was talking about. I used little text throughout the movie because I spoke about his life for nearly 3 minutes. This assignment challenged me because is hard to me to cut down the reasearch I have since I always gather way more information than needed. I picked this assignment because I worked extremely hard on it and I am proud of the job I did.


Overall, I really enjoy being in Mr. Winders class. I really like the “schedule” of his class and the routines we have grown accustomed to. It is very helpful doing a warm-up at the beginning of class because it either refreshes me of what we learned last class, or shows me what how to do the new assignment. I always have appreciated taking notes with the class before the doing independent assignment, because it gives me an opportunity to ask questions I have about the new topic. I enjoy doing the assignments on paper in the packets because it gives me a variety of problems to practice my skills. For the most part, one class period was enough time for me to finish the packet but occasionally, I did not finish and it was hard to find time to make it up. I think we should have more interactive assignments such as posters or projects to add variety and make us experts at the particular topic. I really appreciate Mr. Winders for always helping when and answering my questions needed, because I tend to have a lot.

The topic that challenged me the most was learning about Transversals within geometry. It was difficult remembering the difference between corresponding angles, alternate interior angles, alternate exterior angles, consecutive interior angles, and same side interior angles. Also it was confusing remembering the differences between the theorems that prove congruence because they all sound similar. Ex: (Side-side-side, angle-side-angle, side-angle-side, angle-angle-side, and hypotenuse leg.) The last unit we learned, which was Trigonometry was the easiest for me to understand because I have already learned this topic. After Mr. Winders went over it again, it completely refreshed my memory and I found it simple to solve. I’d honestly like to learn about taxes because I will soon have to be paying them and I want to be informed on the correct way.


Overall, I absolutely love being in Ms. Dennen’s Science class. Ms. Dennen is an outstanding teacher and assigns work that is comprehensible and for the most part, fun :) She varies the types of assignments we have between movies, worksheets, notebook work, visual projects, and current events. Ms. Dennen is very insightful and always made sure to help me whenever I needed it. I really enjoyed the interactive projects we did both on paper and on Google Draw. I am a visual learner and learn new concepts best when I can thoroughly learn the topic, and show what I’ve learned in something I create. I also really appreciate the fact that Ms. Dennen always thinks about giving back and wants to make a difference in whatever way possible. Between building the solar suitcases for Kenya, and planting trees at Steamer Landing, Ms. Dennen planned lessons that helped others, but also gave her students a whole new perspective on how rewarding it is to help others. Sometimes it was difficult managing my time regarding the current events, because we had other assignments to do on top of it. I think if Ms. Dennen could improve at anything, it would be informing us sooner on when are assignments are due, so I can be more diligent about setting aside enough time for completion. As a student, I am going to do my best to stop procrastinating, and have more patience with others around me.

Planting trees at Steamer Landing Park is by far my favorite assignment we have done this year. Ms. Dennen reached out to the Friends of the Petaluma River and set up an amazing project where we directly made an impact in our community be rewilding land that needed it. My partner on this project was Anja and we worked very hard on researching our shrub, Toyon. Within 2 visits of the Park, we planted our shrub in a location where it will thrive. We followed the process of digging the hole, breaking apart the shrubs roots, adding fertilizer, surrounding the hole with cardboard, covering it with wood chips, and watering it generously. Although I was freezing cold, not down to get dirty, and a little irritated; I still put effort into making sure our plant was set up to be nice and healthy. I appreciate Ms. Dennen I really enjoyed this assignment because all the trees our school planted will make a huge difference in that park and provide many homes for animals.


My experience in Ms. Dennen’s art class has been great! The classroom is always tranquil which helps me to concentrate. We do a variety of art styles and engaging projects that are interesting and unique. I appreciate that we have a sufficient amount of time to do our art work, because it allows me to pay attention to detail. I put a lot of effort into my artwork and I have fun doing so. I’m very glad I’m in art class and appreciate Ms. Dennen for being such a good teacher!

I also had the pleasure of being in Mr. Winder's music class last semester. We completed a variety of assignments that including analyzing lyrics, studying artist's backgrounds, and learning the basics of music. I really enjoyed all of the videos we watched because it gave me a widespread of information about the artist and the steps they had to take, in order to reach their goals. I appreciate all of the effort and dedication that Winder's puts in to his music class, so that it is both engaging and comprehensible


Mia Funke

Sophomore at Carpe Diem

Parent Interview