What does “achievement” mean to you? How has “achievement” played a role in your time at HSH?

Hi all, my name is Darien Newton. I’m a 2nd Grade Teaching Assistant, and this is my 5th year in the HSH Community. Throughout my time here, I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve DJ’ed numerous events, taught dozens of students, and connected, in many ways, with this wonderful community. During these five years, I’ve developed a new understanding for the word “Achievement”. Achievement can mean many things, to many people– but to me, it means acknowledging an area of growth within yourself and working hard to improve within it. As I’ve grown here at the schoolhouse, both personally and professionally, I’ve experienced what it truly means to aspire towards something and achieve it. If you’ll allow me, I’d love to share a quick story of my time as a first year teacher that relates to achievement. 

I started here at the Schoolhouse in 2019 as a young, wide-eyed teacher with little-to-no idea of what challenges awaited me in the first year. Even though I had experience working with children 1-on-1, I had no idea how difficult managing an entire classroom truly was. From the moment I led my first lesson, I knew I had a lot to learn, but given my access to guidance and support from the community, I was able to grow. 

For five years, I worked to improve my classroom management skills. One thing that aided me in my pursuit was being able to ask for advice from veteran teachers. Past teachers like Nicole Sangastiano, and now Ms. Ericka, guided me as I worked to improve my classroom management skills. They encouraged me to set clear expectations for my students, while remembering to be firm and loving. “They’ll love you for it,” Ms. Nicole once told me.

So to conclude, I hope my students realize the importance of achievement. Achievement can look different from person to person, but I believe it’s an important metric in measuring progress. If we are able to self-reflect, and ask for help when needed, there is no limit to what we can achieve. I hope my students go through life always remembering that achievement doesn’t have to be achieving the big award or fancy accolade. Achieving can be focusing on the small measurable goal that you work at daily. That work ethic compounded over time can open the door for great things!

—Mr. Darien, 2nd Grade Teacher


To me, achievement is something that you’ve worked hard for and by putting in dedication, time, and effort, you can reach your goals. Sometimes it may be difficult, but when you learn from your mistakes and are determined, you can achieve success.

I think Hollywood Schoolhouse helps students in improving not only their work, but themselves too. We all have doubts and sometimes you might feel as if you’re stuck and unable to move forward, but HSH and its teachers ensure that students feel more confident and help get them to where they need to be.

This year, I set myself a goal to be a good 6th Grade ambassador, setting a good example to the younger students and preparing myself for my next school. I have achieved this by being kind, safe and responsible.

—Coco, 6th Grade

For me, achievement is when you push yourself that extra mile to do something that you wouldn’t normally do. By working hard and not giving up, anything is possible.

HSH helped me achieve my goals by motivating me and pushing me to work to the best of my ability. It has also inspired me to develop different ideas and to find different solutions.

One of my goals in 6th Grade was to work more independently, especially in preparation for middle school. I have done this by not giving up too easily, persevering, and only asking for help if I have tried everything possible. Through this, I think I have become a better learner.

—Gil, 6th Grade