Students should look forward to, not dread, high school

EDITORIAL

The eighth grade can bring a sense of finality to middle school students. Often, students will hear from their teachers that the entire purpose of the eighth grade year is to prepare them for high school. They repeat that same phrase almost religiously: “…preparing for high school.”
The final week of the 2016-2017 school year is now upon John Sevier Middle School, so students have completed “TN Ready” testing and the annual Washington DC field trip. They are now looking forward to the long-awaited relief of summer break, when students are finally allowed to go free from the boundaries of school for two months.
Some students, however, don’ t seem to be able to see the big picture. They’ re looking into the sweltering heat of a Tennessean summer, and the fun and games that lie ahead, instead of thinking about their freshman year of high school.
Moving to high school can often seem intimidating. It’s a lot like the feeling of walking into a full classroom on the first day of elementary or middle school.
This time, however, will be different. This time, students will start the last leg of their travels through public schools.
Dobyns-Bennett is much larger and intended to hold thousands of students as opposed to the almost measly several hundred handled individually in the two Kingsport middle schools. Size is not the only major difference between middle school and high school.
Then there’s the ever increasing depth and scale of academic work. Even filling out the schedules during the appointed meeting time can seem overwhelming due to the sheer amount of choices involved. Academic classes, electives, elective focus… it seems like an overwhelming, convoluted mess.
That is not to say that the array of choices is a curse, however. High school is the first time in a student’s long school adventure that truly branches out and prepares students for their real careers. For instance, DB’s classes branch out into various fields, such as oceanography, culinary arts, veterinary science and even game design. It is also the first time students have real control over which classes they take.
Dobyns-Bennett shouldn’ t seem as intimidating as it does to most freshmen students. As soon as a schedule or routine is established, it will only be a matter of time until that dread is lost and students feel at home. With DB’s facilities, students have a lot of resources available to become successful.
Students might also look upon DB as an improvement over Sevier: their fellow students are much more mature, they are allowed to bring both backpacks and cell phones to class, and they are able to sign up for classes that they want, such as the eternally popular veterinary science class. Students can also look forward to much expanded sports opportunities.
What it basically comes down to is that although moving on to high school can make students anxious and nervous, it shouldn’ t. Instead, they should look fondly back on their time in middle school, and be confident that their high school years will be even better.

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