Smooth transitions, startup
It has only been three weeks since the end of summer break and already those sunny tans have faded from people’s skins, and students and teachers alike have settled into the flow of school life once more. For some, this means transitioning from elementary school to our combined junior high and high school. For others, this means becoming a freshman. And still others— we lucky few— become seniors. The graduating class of 2015 is fourteen strong and steady.
The sixth-to-seventh-grade transition seems to be the most difficult transition to make. Current seventh graders were previously at the top of the totem pole, and now they have been thrust into an environment with new academic standards and kids up to six years older.
The Buddy Connection was instrumental in easing the shift from elementary to junior high, as seen during the first day rally, when seniors were grouped with new seventh graders to participate in activities and ice breakers. Students played the Name Game and even acted out several things that they liked. The seventh graders were later taken on a tour of the school by three upperclassmen.
One group of students who did not get shown around this year were the freshmen, usually the recipients of Loyalton High’s guided tour. Sadly— or thankfully, depending on how you look at it— the freshmen’s transition this year has been anti-climactic.
With a year of experience in LHS’s halls, classes with its teachers, and dealings with older students, this year’s freshmen have an extra ounce of confidence in navigating high school life.
Still, to ease the transition and build the bond within the class, the freshmen went on a two-day retreat this week, where they played games and learned general leadership skills. One day they will be the leaders of the school, so it’s good that they’re getting a head start.
Maybe one of the most underrated transitions is that from junior year to senior year. The whole thing is bittersweet. The bitter: knowing all the work and obstacles you’re going to face the upcoming year, along with the idea of becoming an adult and being legally responsible for yourself. Ahh! The sweet: being at the height of the school’s pyramid, being confident with that years-in-the-making rapport with teachers, and being that much closer to leaving the public school system and Common Core behind.
Honestly, adjusting to senior life hasn’t taken all three weeks. It really only took one morning. It took waking up at 5:15 a.m., Aug. 25, and riding to Senior Sunrise at Lauren Wangler’s house. It took sitting there with my classmates with the smell of Andrew Kielak’s burnt egg hanging in the air for the epiphany that has made these weeks easier. Every one of us (fourteen strong!) is in this together.
The struggles of senior year haven’t entirely sunken in yet. Things are deceptively simple right now, and the stress is more like an ominous storm cloud on the horizon. At least I know that there are thirteen other people with whom to cry about things like lost flash drives and missed deadlines.