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Freshmen adjust to transition from middle school to high school

The first weeks of school were a surprising experience for freshman Kevin Mao. He walked in the school’s main entrance, and the sheer number of people and the building’s size amazed him. Gentry Middle School (GMS) had 803 students last year, but RBHS currently has more than 2,000.

He went to his classes and found they were not as frightening as he thought they would be. He had an image of high school being like it is portrayed on TV. Mao said he was surprised by the long class periods but got used to them quickly.

“The class lengths are almost double [those] of middle school classes,” Mao said. “The first few weeks were pretty straightforward. It was a lot of get-to-know-you activities and signing syllabuses. The teachers were good in terms of difficulty and the amount of effort you have to put into the class.”

He also mentioned he likes the changes in the policies from middle school, especially the freedom RBHS allows. He said GMS was far more constricting than he liked, such as the required bathroom passes, and he welcomed the change.

“It’s a good change, and I know that even if we have those freedoms, we have to keep our part of the deal.”

Kevin Mao, freshman

“In Gentry everything was very tight and restrained, but here you don’t even need to ask the teacher sometimes to go to the bathroom,” Mao said. “It’s a good change, and I know that even if we have those freedoms, we have to keep our part of the deal.”

Freshman Beca Harper on the other hand, thinks that the transition to high school wasn’t that surprising for her. Like  Mao she also enjoys the freedoms and different activities available at the high school level. Harper said RBHS differs from middle school because it has a more expansive social environment.

“High school isn’t that much different than middle school,” Harper said. “There’s just a lot more people and a lot more clubs in Rock Bridge.”

While freedoms such as the open campus lunch system are nice to have at RBHS, Mao said, there are some aspects he dislikes about the new restrictions on letting students out of class early. He said his classes don’t do anything for the last five minutes. Instead, they wait: goofing around until the bell, time he could be using for more useful activities.  

“I have a Career Center class right before lunch, and by the time I get there 10 minutes passes after I get my food,” Mao said. “I wish that they would let us out earlier for people in the Career Center.” 

Mao and freshman Daniel Webb both mentioned that Jump Start Day helped them get used to the changes from middle school to high school. Webb enjoyed the opportunity to see his teachers and meet his classmates before school began.

“It really helped me because I could walk through my schedule and get to know my teachers before the bulk of school actually started. It’s been good so far because I like my classes and I like the freedom of Rock Bridge.” Webb said.

Mao said he was looking forward to his freshman year because high school was so new and open, and he hopes to make more friends in the future. He said he plans to join clubs and eat lunch with upperclassmen as well as freshmen to “ go out of my shell.”

“I’m really looking forward to my time at Rock Bridge because it’s such a big school with lots of things to do,” Mao said,” and I have a lot of time to make myself at home here at Rock Bridge.” 

These 20 seniors with the Class of 2020 have successfully navigated the freshmen year experience. Here is their advice for the Class of 2023:

What other advice do you have for the freshmen this year? Tell us in the comments below.

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1 comment

Leo Bradley March 3, 2020 at 10:33 am

I agree with Kevin Mao when he said the biggest different from middle school to high school was all of the freedom. The amount of freedom was a lot and for some it can be overwhelming you need to have a lot of discipline to get your work done on time because in high school they don’t pester you as much as middle school teachers did.


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