Fitting Into A New Place
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For the most part, much of Clovis High’s student population is made up of locals and students who were born and raised in the Central Valley.
This school occasionally receives a few foreign exchange students and out-of-towners, but even the most the most unique of them eventually find a place in our small, diverse community. So it was no wonder that one of those newcomers, Joe Mascovich, fit right in; however, it was somewhat unusual how quickly and deeply he did so.
Mascovich enrolled at CHS for his senior year, the last year of his high school days and his first year in a California school.
Born in Okinawa, Japan, his father served in the U.S. Air Force and his family moved to wherever he was stationed at. From Japan, he and his family moved to Hawaii, then North Carolina, then Thailand, then Germany, then Georgia, and, now that his father’s retired, they moved to his home of record, Clovis, California.
“There’s more people that have been here their whole lives, who haven’t really been outside of the country or even California,” said Mascovich. “People have made friendships since elementary school and have built relationships, while schools I’ve been at previously have been on military bases with kids coming in and out every year”.
Yet, even with the unfamiliarly “local” population at Clovis High, Mascovich was quick to make himself a part of our community. From his first day in our chamber orchestra program, Mascovich made his talents, humor, and friendliness known to the entire class and instructor.
“So many of our students are raised and taught to do one thing,” said Mrs. Lozano, the chamber and string orchestra instructor. “I appreciate Joe’s out of the box thinking, and I think his personality and outlook on life is reflective of all the places he’s been,” said Lozano.
The class’s reception and acceptance somewhat surprised him, especially in comparison to his expectations for the school.
“Based on what people were telling me, [this school] seemed very stringent with very high standards,” said Mascovich. “Compared to the schools I’ve been at, the standards are a lot higher, but it’s not nearly as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. The students here treat me just as openly as I’ve been treated when I go to another school.”
Mascovich began playing cello in the sixth grade during his stay in Thailand. He is proficient in piano, guitar, and cello and is the current assistant principal player for the cello section.
Mascovich was also surprised about our approach to music compared to the orchestras he previously played in.
“With most music programs I’ve been in, it’s been very straightforward…but this class is a class I feel you really have to work hard to get into. In terms of practicing and knowing their music, the kids are more disciplined than what I’ve seen before. I’ve even played in some college orchestras, but I’d still say that this program is the next best thing,” said Mascovich.
Lozano said, “Joe is technically advanced because of where he’s gone to school and the teachers he has studied with. He blends in perfectly, especially with our cello section. I think he’s in the right section at the right school at the right time for his last year in high school.”
“Here they focus on the little things. The basics are there for everybody – the articulation, the notes, the pitches – those are the things I feel like they work on at home, while the things they work on in class are dynamics and other things that are harder to learn on your own,” said Mascovich.
“This is a good orchestra, definitely one of the better high school ones I’ve played in. It’s a good program and this is a good school overall.”
Mascovich has made many new acquaintances at Clovis High and will no doubt continue to do so until his graduation this year with the rest of the CHS class of 2017.