By Seth Morrison
It is no secret that the transition to high school is a big one. Whether it is because of the numerous clubs and sports or just the general workload, eighth grade does not compare to ninth. Freshmen are living this truth now, and sophomores, juniors, and seniors have all been through this transition. However, the benefits of the switch come at the price of harder classes, higher expectations, and grades that are on students’ college transcripts.
In the middle school, HCC, the only classes included in students’ transcripts were foreign language, Algebra I, and Earth Science. It is not easy for students to go through school and not be stressed about their future when everything they do might affect it.
At the same time, freshmen get some new options and benefits in this tradeoff, such as more school activity options and freedom.
After schools activities include more sports and clubs. Sports options include JV and varsity teams, each with high standards and commitments, whereas in HCC, school sports only extended as far as modified teams. New sports offered include boys and girls tennis, girls softball, girls cheerleading, and girls dance. For students trying to find a club that that interested them in HCC but were unable to, that is highly unlikely to be a problem for them in high school. There are so many clubs that freshmen had the opportunity to attend a club fair during mentor class! The clubs that did exist in HCC also tend to have a bigger commitment in the high school than their counterparts. One prime example is The Oracle. In contrast to HCC’s newspaper, The Critter, the high school’s The Oracle publishes articles more often – almost daily online.
High school also has more freedom. One example is free periods. For the first time ever, students actually have a free period scheduled once every cycle, as well as the occasional period when no substitutes are covering. During free periods, students can do homework, eat lunch (depending on when the free is), read a book, talk with friends, or do much more.
For many students though, the switch can be overwhelming. For them, the high difficulty level of classes and the extra workload outweighs all the privileges that come with BHHS and stress consumes them in the summer months before school begins. To help students adjust, the school has the Mentor program. A selection of teachers along with some seniors introduce freshmen to the new building, guidance counselors, and answer any questions they may have. For most freshman, dropping this class period is a sad day, as they do not have the chance that day to play games, particularly “Yogi Ball” (kickball with a twist that different mentor classes compete against each other in). After first semester of ninth grade, the new freshmen will hopefully know everything they need to excel during their four years at BHHS.
Given that high school comes a new layer of freedom, it is hard for even the most worried of students to zero in on the extra workload and dismiss all the benefits. Yes, grades are more of an issue, but with extra help and peer tutoring, the answer to all questions are just a hallway away. With the additional help of mentoring, most freshmen find their bearings in no time. While the transition to BHHS may have some downsides, the school has a rather unique way of introducing itself that sets up freshmen for an amazing high school experience.