Profile: Muriel Mora

The daily life of an OPHS student, featuring Muriel Mora


Leonie Humig/Talon

Muriel Mora pictured

Have you ever wondered what the life of another Oak Park High School student looks like?

Featured here is a glimpse beyond the daily life of junior Muriel Mora.

Mora moved to Oak Park, California last August. She is not only an Oak Park student, but also a student at Retter’s Academy of Dance and used to live in Austria.

At the academy, Mora does Hip-Hop, Contemporary and Jazz. They each go for an hour to an hour and a half.

“My favorite is probably contemporary, because we get to express our own style of dance more than any other,” Mora said.

Up until last year, Mora has lived in Salzburg, Austria for the past three years.

Salzburg is a baroque Austrian city close to the German border, facing the eastern alps. The old part of the town is the birthplace of the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Mora’s school was a former fire station converted into a school and she describes the schooling systems to be quite different.

In Austria, schools generally start at 7:40 a.m. and depending on grade level and schedule, end between 11:20 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

“I’d say [school’s] a lot more relaxed here. I don’t have to wake up as early — I do have to stay in school longer.”

As for Rally Week:

“In Austria there’s zero school spirit. We have no sports teams for school, there is nothing. You go to school to learn and you leave, which is really sad because rallies are really fun and the different football games, basketball games and dances are super fun.”

In fourth grade, students in Austria choose if they want to take the college or trade school route.

“In eight grade you can choose again and most kids switch schools and then learn a trade.” Mora said. “You also have four big final-ish tests each year. I had 14 subjects and in the main subjects, German [language arts], math, foreign language and science you have those four big tests.”

That means that the grade for the entire school year in the main classes is significantly dependent on these four tests. In the other subjects you have normal tests like Oak Park.

In the last year of school, students have to take a huge test that grades their entire knowledge from the past years (yes, plural). In Austria, this is called “Matura”.

The Matura is comparable to a high school diploma. The grade you receive in the Matura is equivalent to GPA. The higher the grade, the better the chances of college admission and a later job opportunity. The difference resides in the grade being based one one giant test at the end of your school career rather than an accumulated grade point average at the end of your high school career.

For languages, Mora’s school had a choice of Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian and English. It is common for students to take multiple languages.

There were no school sports, except PE, and inside the school the students wore houseshoes.

A memorable moment at her Austrian school was before winter break when a student shook hands and wished every student a ‘Merry Christmas’ making everyone feel special and get into the holiday spirit.

Mora says the temperature in California makes it easier to go outside.

“I like to go to the beach and watch the sunset,” she said.

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