Stepping It Up


Coming into High School on the first day as a freshman can be both exciting and terrifying, but thanks to the STEP program run by Mrs. Hagness and Mrs. O’Brien, 9th graders can walk into school their first day confident and ready to tackle any challenges that they may face. The transition from high school to middle school is a lot to take in. Incoming freshmen are often very overwhelmed by the different environment, new teachers, schedules and students. When I asked Mrs. O’Brien if she found STEP to be successful, she said,” Yes, I do think that STEP has been successful. I like and trust kids helping kids.” She finds that STEP improves 9th graders understanding of what will be required, settles any worries that they may have,  and gives them a connection with the upperclassmen before the year even starts. This year on top of the already successful STEP program, the school is piloting a new 9th grade mentoring program. The goal of this program would be to put at least one upperclassman in each freshman advisory twice a week for some sort of activity. The idea of such a program came up last year during a leadership workshop held at the school when students voiced interest in having an adopt a freshman program. If any student wishes to become a mentor, he or she has to have at least a C average and a teacher recommendation, Applications for both the STEP and student mentoring program are available in the Guidance Office. I have personal experience with the STEP program and would highly suggest volunteering to any upperclassman, not only does it feel good to help but you also get community service credit. To get a further view on student’s views on STEP, I interviewed 6 students: a sophomore and a junior who both transferred to Morgan  this year and attended STEP, 1 freshman, 2 juniors, and 1 senior who has volunteered at STEP all 4 years. All of these people had a positive response about STEP. The students who recently attended STEP collectively said that it helped them find their way around the school and gave them a connection with upperclassmen. When I interviewed Alex Kamnitzer on what it was like to be a mentor, she said, “It was interesting; you really got the opportunity to give freshmen something that you wish you had as an incoming freshman. It also really helps promote leadership skills.”