Freshman Year Matters

Dustin Cerda, Editor

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Freshmen walk into Moreno Valley High School on the first day full of hope unaware of the trials and tribulations they will endure. Most of them come into high school with no map, no guidance, and sometimes no motivation.

According to freshman English teacher Mr. Kennedy, a major problem for incoming freshmen is time management. They struggle to find a balance between extracurricular activities and school work. Coming to a new school causes freshmen to seek out new friends, sometimes by befriending.

“High School freshman are sometimes entranced by the older crowds and seek out acceptance by partaking in activities that might result in negative consequences like ditching school or class.” Mr. Kennedy said.

Freshmen are eager to fit in to their new school. This sometimes means they seek acceptance from their older classmates. Sometimes this can help freshman mature faster as they are influenced by the behavior of older and more mature students. However, these older classmates often influence freshmen in a bad way. They start ditching because the older kids do it or they might start smoking weed because the older kids are.

“Many freshmen don’t realize just how much they are their own worst enemies at times. Whatever reason, or even if there isn’t really a reason, it’s always important to  stay focused. I think that BARR does help with this mindset and it does help students generate skills to deal with difficult situations.”

The BARR program helps freshmen develop skills that are essential for success in high school. These skills include things such as positive values, support, and commitment to learning. Unfortunately, Mr. Kennedy claims that students tend to fall through the cracks because after freshman year the support of the BARR program is no longer there. Mr. Kennedy claims however that overall the BARR program does help students see their future and that students that have come back to him as juniors have a more positive outlook on school and life.

“It helps them make connections with their team teachers and classmates.  It helps build a community of learners within the classroom with the help of the I time lessons we do each week, that talk about character, support and life issues.” Kennedy said in regards to the BARR program.

Some students struggle to succeed in high school because they hold bitter feelings towards the world. They feel betrayed by everyone and develop the mindset that nobody cares if they succeed so there’s no point in trying because very teacher they had in middle school would just pass them on to the next grade regardless if they passed the class or not.

“Work hard because it is difficult to play catch up in regards to credits and GPA.  A bad freshman year will negatively affect the next three years of high school, and on the flip side, a strong freshman year will prove to be beneficial and help students succeed in the next few years of high school.” Mr. Kennedy said.

“Yes, it’s okay to stumble, but never stay down. Tenacity is beautiful.  And so is every person on this planet. We all have a spark of greatness, even if the shadows and pain in the world have dimmed it.” said freshman English teacher Ms. Bayne.

According to The Atlantic, 9th grade is the most important year in deciding whether a student drops out or graduates. Freshman year sets the path for if a student does well in the following years. It is much easier to pass the class the first time. If a student fails a class they then have to make up the credits in night school or summer school, which is time they could spend at home or with friends. When students have night school they can sometimes fall behind in their current classes because after they spend 3 hours in night school, they lose all motivation to do any other work they have.

“I’d rather you did something, rather than you didn’t, because your choices should always be focused on achieving your true happiness, not some fleeting joy.” Bayne said.

Freshmen can be scared to try new things because they’re scared to fail or their friends make fun of them for it. In other cases students try one thing, fail, and are scared to get back up and try again. This can prevent them from doing things they might have been very successful in.

“Aesop’s Fable about the Tortoise and Hare is truly a lost lesson. There are a number of Freshmen that prefer to be rabbits – quick, flashy, adorable – but fail to see that the reptile wins the race. There’s this momentary glory that many seek, without realizing that success in life isn’t just about the brilliant moments, but also about being grounded and stable.”  said Ms. Bayne.