Freshman find their footing

Robert Della Torre is a freshman at the high school this year. —Elizabeth Dourian

By Julianne Joseph and Ayanna Fhagen-Smith

With the first academic quarter of the school year closing, ninth grade students have a range of reactions to their high school experiences.

Veronica Wendt has been liking it so far. “There are way more people in the high school than there were in middle school, so making friends is easy,” she said.

Each student’s experience with the adjustment has been different, but all of them find that high school is not as frightening as they expected. Gaby Carlos Silva said, “It’s been a quick adjustment because they talked about it so much in eighth grade and the program “Smoothly Transitioning Into Ninth Grade” (STING) helped a lot.”

STING was a senior project created by Mary Ollen in 2014 which started exclusively in the West Tisbury School. School Adjustment Counselor Amy Lilavois continued the program for the past three years expanding it to all of the Island middle schools including the Charter School. The program has helped eighth grade students to feel more at ease about their transition into high school.

Cameron Moore has found the student body to be really understanding and has enjoyed the multitude of clubs offered. He said, “There are many more things for students to do and it’s easier to express yourself.” Coming from, the Island’s small middle schools, the high school, with its 700 students, can be a refreshing change.

Veronica said, “The expectations are very difficult.” She feels that some of the teachers have not been helpful or supportive during the transition to high school.  “The work expectations are hard to achieve because of the sudden due dates for homework,” she said. “I wish teachers would make more flexible due dates like they did in middle school.”

While transitioning from the close-knit middle schools to a larger high school has been a challenge for some, Gaby felt as though she has more freedom at the high school. “They listen to us and change what is necessary to make our experience at the high school better,” she said.