By Mackinsey Martinez and Anna Neidigh
Change is a part of life. Eventually everyone grows up and the older you get, the more change you will experience. Transitioning from elementary school to middle school was big. It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, we would hang our coats and backpacks on little hooks and in cubbies with our name tags on them. Now, it’s even harder to believe that in just a few months, we will be walking out of the doors of Fountain Middle School for the very last time as a middle school student and walking through the doors of Fountain Fort Carson High School for the very first time as a new high school student.
Transitioning into high school can be hard – that’s why we have mentors such as teachers and counselors to help us. They are adults that have all experienced the struggles of going from middle school to high school and can use their own knowledge and experience to help us. They are here to prepare us for high school.
Mr. Littrell (8th grade Social Studies) told us how he’s preparing students for high school. “I hammer the ‘skills’… feedback from past students and high school teachers have aided in my change or approach to teaching. I have found that making ‘skills’ rather than “content’ the priority and focus of my class is more beneficial to my students. Skills such as, note taking, writing, annotating a text, collaboration, studying/test prep, and organization have been valuable for students going into high school and beyond. I have heard many times that students often struggle in high school because they do not know what to do when a teacher asks them to simply ‘get something out to take notes’…
“Don’t get me wrong, I still teach American History; however, the priority of my 8th grade class is centered on the above skills. I just use American History to teach the skills that students will need to be ready and more successful for high school and life.”
Mr. Littrell continued to describe what his transition to high school was like and how he can use his experience to help his students. “[My transition] was not good… If my mother had not helped me every night to teach me necessary skills like note taking and organization, I would not have passed my classes my freshman year. My students work on their skills every day! The students who struggle in my class are those who refuse to put the work in.”
Mr. Wykstra (8th grade Social Studies) also responded and said, “Well, the biggest thing is to always encourage and help students become great readers and writers. One thing I do almost weekly is have students read and write about a non-fiction reading and students answer in RACE format. The best thing you can do to prepare is to be a responsible student. If you leave FMS with the PRIDE characteristics, you will be well prepared for high school! Hard work and perseverance conquer all.”
He proceeded to talk about his own experience with the transition, saying, “I was nervous about a big school and a new situation, but it didn’t take long for it to seem normal. There are always great teachers and staff ready to help you. I mainly encourage students to always do their best, work hard, manage their time well, and reassure them that they will love it! I also encourage students to get involved with clubs, sports, and other activities. The more they are involved in, the more they will do well and enjoy high school.”
Mrs. Hunke (8th grade Science) also said, “I am trying to help my students develop good study habits and to recognize the importance of doing work in class while you have the teacher present to help answer questions.
“I went to junior high school, which was 7th to 9th grade. I didn’t go to high school until I was a 10th grader. I had already visited the high school a few times, and I was invited to practice on the track team with them,o I had a good idea of how big my high school was and how to get around. I was still nervous, but I found friends quickly and I really liked having some classes with people who were not in my grade. The teachers were helpful and they got down to business.”
Mrs. Hunke continued. “I usually ask students if they’re nervous about going to high school to try and relate, but only one student ever tells me that they’re nervous! I do think that students like to forge their own path and might feel more comfortable talking to someone who has more recently gone through high school transition. I just try to be open for communication and encouragement.”
We can all agree that high school can be scary. There is so much that a newbie freshman could be afraid of. However, there is also so much that freshmans are probably looking forward to. Everyone feels differently about going into high school. Some students feel like they are prepared, and others do not.
Hezekyah Kyles said, “[I’m looking forward] to becoming successful in high school so I can be considered a high school athlete. I’m most afraid of failing.” He continued to express, “[I feel prepared] because I’m just gonna take easy classes.”
Tiana Reign Rindon told The Arrow, “The high schoolers that came to visit us said that the teachers are really cool, so it will be less stressful, so that’s good. I’m looking forward to that. I’m probably most scared about the older grades because they are scary. I’m not really ready because I’m really scared that it will be stressful.”
“I’m looking forward to the hour-long lunches and being able to have more freedom. I’m scared of the older grades,” said Julia Roman. She also agreed with Rindon; “[I’m not ready] because I’m just really scared of everything. It’s all really new.”
Kairynn Liana said, “I’m excited to try out for new sports. [I’m scared to] have classes with older kids, but I think I’m prepared because I have older siblings and they taught me what to be ready for.”
“I’m probably [most excited about] seeing my sister in high school,taking the new classes, and doing metal classes. I’m scared of getting bad grades and my parents getting mad at me. [I feel prepared] because my sister goes there, and she is helping me learn everything I need to know,” Kaden Haffner replied.
It helps a lot to have student mentors in high school. People like friends, siblings, cousins, and more can give you tips. They’ve also more recently experienced transitioning into high school, so they may be able to relate more.
Da’Vaughn Price explained, “I am most excited for basketball because I enjoy sports a lot. [I’m nervous about] girls and making the basketball team.” But is he prepared? “Yes, because I know everyone there.”
“I am most excited about football and the new classes. I’m nervous about learning new things in my classes and not understanding it,” said Michael Recio. He also agreed with Price; “[I would say I’m prepared] because I know a lot of people and they can help me.”
If you’re looking for someone to talk to or help you about your high school transition, talk to any of your teachers or counselors.