Originally created 08/29/00

Learning the ropes

Ask any high school student who's battled crowded hallways this week and they'll tell you it takes time to get back into the swing of things.

But what about the newest kids in the hall, freshmen? Along with an unfamiliar setting and new faces, first-year high school students deal with schedules and rules that differ a lot from middle school.

Xtreme asked four freshmen to record their thoughts on the new environment during their first week.

The freshmen who participated were Frank Maddox III, 14, from Laney High School; Denver Champion, 14, from T.W. Josey High School; and Xtreme Teen Board members Jerod Gay, 14, an Evans High School student, and Lindsay Wilkes-Edrington, 13, who attends North Augusta High School.

Here's what they had to say about high school today:

Frank Maddox, 14, Laney High School

Tuesday, Aug. 15 (Registration): At registration with Dad, I thought, "Will I like high school?" I found out that orientation is tonight. This is quick!

At the orientation, I didn't know what I should expect. When I walked in with my parents, I saw so many kids. I wondered how so many people can fit into one room.

Thursday, Aug. 17 (Night before first day of school): I didn't want to be late to school, so I decided to set my clock right then. I was hoping my best friend Jarvis was going to be there in my class.

Friday, Aug. 18: Boooooooonnnnngggg!

Man, it's my alarm! It's 5:45 a.m. This sure is an early time to get up. I don't want to be late for the first day of school so I get straight up.

I was very excited to be able to put on my regular clothes after having worn uniforms for the last three years. This is cool!

Brittany (my sister) isn't going to get in my way and make me late this year! She's in middle school - I'm at Laney.

I arrived at school with my dad. I wondered what my first day of school was going to be like: Will I enjoy this school? Will I see anyone I know from my old school or neighborhood? Will I like my schedule? Will I be embarrassed because I don't have the correct school supplies?

I think I look O.K. for the first day of school...Hey! What am I going to wear for the rest of the week?

I was assigned to Ms. Nicholson's home room class. When I went into her room she gave me my schedule.

When I walked into the room, I felt kind of nervous and I didn't know how I should act. I wasn't late, but a large portion of my class was already assembled. Because of my nervousness, I felt like they were all staring at me!

When I looked at my schedule I starting looking for my Algebra II class. In place of Algebra II was Euclidean Geometry. I decided if I passed algebra, I could pass geometry.

The bell rings. Which way do I go? How do I get to my next class? I don't want to be tardy. I still feel out of place and sort of bewildered. I felt happy and relieved when I found my class.

During my class I had to fill in information sheets and my teachers told the class the rules and regulations.

For my first day of school, it was weird.

Monday, Aug. 21: Today I'm starting to get used to my classes. But I've decided to change one of my classes from JROTC to an art class. I've been issued my agenda and tomorrow I'm getting my books. I like this school!

Tuesday, Aug. 22: As I came into the classroom, Ms. Nicholson began telling the students there was going to be an orientation for the whole ninth grade. In the speech Mr. (Quentin) Motley (principal of Laney) told us about the dress code and other things.

After lunch, my friend Jarvis and I went up the crowded stairs.

Friday, Aug. 25: I believe that my transition from middle school to high school went smoothly.

The entire week was fun, meeting new classmates as well as meeting new acquaintances and familiarizing myself with the high school.

Jerod Gay, 14, Evans High School:

Monday, Aug. 21: Today was a pretty good day. So far I'm adjusting really well. I'm starting to think that the stories of horror that are often associated with being a freshman are exaggerated. So far most of the upperclassmen I've talked to have been really helpful and friendly. It helps a lot to know people in higher grades than you are. I met some people at a party I was invited to on Saturday, so I'm fitting in pretty well. I almost have my schedule memorized! I passed off the fight song in band after school, and I like the fact that in high school you can play Magic: The Gathering at lunch.

Tuesday, Aug. 22: I've memorized my schedule, and I'm about ready to pass off three more pieces in band next Monday. I've decided that I am going to bring my lunch from now on. With the shortened lunch times, it's simply impossible to wait in line, get your food, and have time to eat it all in 35 minutes. After school band practices (ugh). I almost passed out (literally) this afternoon. It's nobody's fault but my own. I should have brought water.

Wednesday, Aug. 23: I did not want to get up this morning. My alarm rang at 5:30 a.m., as usual, but today I turned it off and slept until 6. Boy, was I tired. I really don't know why. I went to bed at 11 last night. That's not too late. I brought my lunch today, and I had plenty of time to eat. I guess not all upperclassmen are friendly. Two of them on the bus (Girls. I'm not sure what grade.) weren't very nice. But I won't let that bother me. From my experience, there are more nice ones that there are mean ones.

Thursday, Aug. 24:

I set my alarm wrong last night and woke up at 5 a.m. I almost fell asleep in homeroom. I like the fact that you can take your book-bags to class with you. Oh, yeah, I was "adopted" by two upperclassmen (girls), whatever that means. I'm doing fine anyway. We had band practice after school again today. I was smarter this time. I brought something to drink. Tomorrow is Friday! I'm really looking forward to this weekend.

Friday, Aug. 25: Thank God it's Friday. For the most part, this week has been good, but I'm ready for the weekend. Unfortunately, I'll be spending the majority of it practicing my clarinet to get the rest of my music passed off next week.

I missed the bus again. I rode my friend's bus home with him and had my mom pick me up from his house.

Slowly but surely I think I'm adjusting. A word of advice to all freshmen from now on: It's not as bad as people say it is.

Denver Champion, 14, T.W. Josey High School:

Friday, Aug. 18: I was excited about going to high school. I got to meet all my teachers and I had lunch with the assistant principal. The thing I didn't like about the first day was that we switched classes every 10 minutes before lunch to meet our teachers and to learn where the rooms were.

Monday, Aug. 21: I was able to get the feel of high school a little bit more. The teachers started giving homework. I have to leave every class five minutes earlier than the rest of the students so I can get to class on time because I am in a wheelchair.

Tuesday, Aug. 22: We started using maps in geography. Today I was able to do my work without any hesitation or confusion.

Wednesday, Aug. 23: In high school, you only have 30 minutes for lunch and all 3 periods are really crowded. We only have 3 minutes between classes so everyone moves very fast.

Thursday, Aug. 24: I had a tough time in Social Studies today because I couldn't speak very loud. I did real well on my math test today. My P.E. coach was absent so the substitute allowed us to do laps around the gym (I am in a wheelchair so I get to drive).

Lindsay Wilkes-Edrington, 13, North Augusta High School:

When I used to think of high school many words came to mind: excitement, fun, opportunity, things like that.

Now as I am getting closer to the end of my second week only one word pops into my head: stress!

In middle school I never had any homework. Now that I'm at North Augusta High School I'm getting at least 2-3 hours worth, not to mention the tests and quizzes that seem to magically appear just when I think things are slowing down. I thought I'd be able to handle all the work but it's just been so overwhelming. I'm having less and less time to do the things that are important to me, like playing guitar. I guess it will just take time to get used to this lifestyle.

Don't get me wrong, though. Overall, high school's not too bad. There's more freedom, more people, basically a little more of everything. The days seem to go by a lot faster too. There are so many more opportunities and it's really great to have so many things to choose from to do.

I was really ready for a change and high school's definitely it. I'm just a little anxious to find out if I'll be able to be a survivor on this island full of stress.


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