Picture your friends gathered together, chicken sizzling on the barbecue with reggae music echoing in the background. The smell of steak permeates through the air as laughter is shared and stories are told.
After sophomore Adam Wilson’s father chose to move back to Marin from Kingston, Jamaica, this became the average Friday night for Wilson and his new friends from Marin.
“One day my dad decided, ‘I want my son to go to my old school [Redwood],’” Wilson said.
Wilson’s hometown in Jamaica was unlike Marin. He lived approximately half way up Blue Mountain (the tallest mountain in Jamaica) in a two-story suburban home. Now, Wilson and his dad live in Kentfield.
Jamaica’s raw beauty sparked Wilson’s adoration for nature and Marin’s lush outdoor landscape allowed him to continue his hobbies here.
“I do a lot of fishing, hiking, biking and a little photography, I occasionally do it with my friends here [in the U.S.], but I like it better to hike and do photography alone or with my dad. I hike with my dad all the time, technically before I could even walk,” Wilson said.
Wilson believes that, despite the quick transition from two very different cultures, his move to California with his dad ran fairly smoothly due to his ability to connect with others on personal levels.
“It was fairly easy [to move schools]. It was harder for other kids [from Jamaica] to move to other schools but for me, I am easy going with other people. It was easy for me to meet people and become friends with them,” Wilson said.
One of Wilson’s earliest friends at Redwood, sophomore Marco Carbullido, agrees with Wilson, stating that he brought a refreshing point of view to their social circle.
“It was cool to meet a new person that was different from everyone else at Redwood. He experienced a different freshman year, [Adam was] not used to the Redwood culture,” Carbullido said.
When they became better acquainted, Carbullido and Wilson made barbecuing a tradition amongst their friends after a night discovering their similarities and connecting over their differences.
“The first time we barbequed at his house we shared each other’s music. We found out [our music] was actually pretty similar. Adam listens to a lot of American music like rap. He listens to Jamaican music like dancehall and reggae. I listen a lot of reggae so we definitely connect over that,” Carbullido said.
Coming into Redwood, Wilson was also able to make connections through sports. In Jamaica, he played soccer for his school and a club team. Here in the U.S., Wilson plays for Marin Football Club (FC) which allowed him meet many new people.
According to Wilson, one social disparity he has had to deal with is the lack of variety amongst students.
“Redwood is not that diverse. The people here are also really different than in Jamaica. In Jamaica they’re a lot more open and loud. I guess in Jamaica it’s a more friendly environment,” Wilson said.
Another notable factor about Redwood culture for him was the difference in teaching and educational aspects.
“The education is better but easier [at Redwood]. In Jamaica, it was a lot harder [academically]. My old school had one class of 34 [students] and we took all our classes together. The classes were really hard; we always had a lot of work and the tests were not based off critical thinking, it was just memorizing information,” Wilson said.
Wilson continues to be optimistic about his future at Redwood.
“I’m still meeting more people but a lot of people still know me as that Jamaican kid,” said Wilson.