Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons



Imagination is more important than knowledge. -Albert Einstein

It’s back to school time again. Even though I haven’t attended school in years, every autumn I’m filled with anxiety and anticipation when I hear the onslaught of ads enticing us into stores to buy new clothes and school supplies.

When I think back on my childhood school days, I mostly remember walking in the rain to hop on a bus, sitting in a hard chair for hours as teachers droned on and on about subjects I rarely became engaged in, waiting for the bell to ring so I could socialize with my friends, or even better yet, go home!

Learning was by rote. Information in, information out, pass on to the next level.

If only I was a kid again in the present time; it’s vastly different now. I’m fascinated by the way teachers engage their students. The current choices and opportunities Downtown children have right in their neighborhoods haven’t stopped amazing me.

Our children attending primary school have several interesting options. In addition to two public schools and various private ones, Downtown has a number of exceptional public charter schools with stimulating opportunities. San Diego Cooperative, Museum School, and KIPP Adelante Prep Academy all emphasize the exciting benefits of using one’s imagination.

Unfortunately, using imagination as a core teaching tool often ceases after primary school. However, two of our secondary education schools value the use of imagination while learning the 3Rs.

Cortez Hill Academy offers an exciting visual arts program. Students learn real-world applications through hands-on, project-based curriculum integrating art and technology into all the classes. Students perform public service work in the community and have internships with Downtown businesses.

San Diego High School is in its second year of an innovative small school program. Students can prepare for college or a career while attending one of six special interest schools: Multicultural communications; leadership; media, visual, and performing arts; business; international studies; or science and technology. In addition, gifted students can enroll in the magnet program that gives them the opportunity and encouragement to discover and maximize their potential.

Use your imagination. What would it be like to learn math while drawing or cooking? Or learning to write while composing a poem in chalk on the school sidewalks? Learning history while researching for a historical play? Experiencing leadership through mentoring or community service? Gaining self-esteem through dance or a class presentation?

How will our community change when our children are allowed to use their imaginations?

I muse…Imagine what can come from imagination?

Gregg and Susan Maslak’s (Lind Project) children Molly and Tony stroll with their classmates from the neighborhood to Cortez Hill Academy.

Sandra and Layne Pollak (Gaslamp City Square) believe in cultivating their daughter’s imagination; she attends the Museum School.

Thea Quigley (Beaumont Manor) excelled at SDHS, and is now a sophomore at USC.

Fran Pillersdorf (Meridian) actively partakes in her son’s education at San Diego Cooperative.

Imagine a community filled with imagination. - September 2005

Return to Top