Written By Chelsea Pacheco
Pictures Chelsea Pacheco
High School can be very intimidating for freshman; new teachers, seniors, are not sure where to go, etc. The goal in The Morgan School is to make the freshman feel comfortable. Freshmen need to know that the seniors are not out to get them.
During October, the Juniors and Sophomores were taking the PSAT’s while the freshmen were learning more about Junior Portfolio. While the PSAT”s were happening, the freshmen had an hour and a half left of time after the junior portfolio talk. Mrs. Hagness wanted to create something fun and helpful using the seniors as facilitators. The seniors went into a class with about 15 freshmen to talk to them on how to manage stress and deal with school in general.
The seniors that were invited were: Sami Ashton, Courtney Carroll, Chelsea Pacheco, Kelsey Novak, Amber V, Maina Carey, Emily Zirkelbach, Mike Murray, Anthony Choronzy, Paige Koziy, Darcy LaFrance, Sam Shapiro, Mike Vaness, and Michael Fiorillo. “Coming into the meeting, the students were not very sure as to what we were going to create. All we knew was we were somehow going to help the freshmen,” recounted Senior Paige Koziy. During the meeting, all the students came up with wonderful ideas, ideas that Mrs. Hagness could not come up with on her own. Instead of having an assembly, we should change it up. There are always assemblies for the freshmen, when half the time they don’t even listen,” Mike Vaness reveals, “So we should have a workshop, do something different and this way we have one on one time with the freshmen in a small room so we can really engage with the students and make sure they are listening.” The workshop model is what the seniors decided to use.
The day of the PSATs and Freshmen workshop, the seniors did not have to come to school until 10:51, but this group os seniors took their time out of sleeping in late, to come in and help the freshmen. “What teenager doesn’t want to sleep in until 10 on a school day. It was very kind and generous for the seniors to wake up at the normal time to help the freshmen on their school.” Mrs. Hangess reveals.
When the seniors arrived at school, the seniors reported to the library to get their materials. The materials were a huge piece of paper for our stress graffiti wall activity, starbursts, markers, and the lineup of the lesson.
The main focus of the lesson was to have the freshmen brainstorm their definition of stress. Most of the freshmen had stress related issues in sports and school combined. After school, most of the freshmen have sports. They get right out of school and have a two hour practice or have a game. Then they come home to hours worth of homework, especially if they are in honors class such as Honors English. The group I facilitated decided the number one leading cause was sports. Every classroom had a different stress problem. Some said drama and friends, sports, school, teachers, and homework. Then, the seniors were to tell the freshmen how they handled stress. The seniors would let the freshman know that they are not the only ones being pressured in school.
After the whole class discussion, we were to bring our students to the auditorium to share what the groups came up with. Students then watched the We are Morgan video to help tie together the theme that we together are a school and a family. The freshmen learned that they are not alone. They should feel a part of The Morgan School.