Goodbye Middle School, Hello High School: A Guide for Becoming a 9th Grader

Dear 8th grader,

I know you are worried about many different things as you enter high school: being lost in a big building, not knowing many people, being scared about the workload, and even fearing upperclassmen, to name a few. The transition from 8th grade to freshman year can be very intimidating. The change from middle school to high school is a great beginning that will help prepare you for bigger obstacles in the future. As the oldest in your school right now you most likely feel more confident and some relief. While getting placed in high school classes and taking tests so that teachers are able to determine where students should be should be placed, I’m sure there is some apprehension about moving on next year. It is important to note that you are not alone in your transition! All the freshman next year will be just as new as you. Whether you’re coming from Joseph Melillo Middle School or East Haven Academy, or even a school out of town, you will quickly bond and create amazing relationships with new people here at EHHS.

Navigating through the building may be hard for the first week or so. I remember the first week of my freshman year, I struggled to get to my second period history class on time because I kept getting confused. Fortunately, most teachers are very understanding and will try and help you. After the first week, you start to get accustomed to the routine. EHHS is divided into different wings by subject. In your classes, you will be placed with people who are similar to you or have the same interests as you. If you do not know someone, you should introduce yourself and ask for their name; a new friendship can be created that easily! Classes often consist of about twenty people, so it is likely you will see some familiar faces. But don’t be afraid to branch out and meet new people.

It is true: your schoolwork gets harder each year. As you mature, you are able to handle more responsibility. Current EHHS freshman, Emily Cancel, states, “The high school gives you so much freedom in your classes and career, unlike the middle school. I think this is the hardest part because it is a lot of pressure of picking a class that you like, but is also required to help you graduate. Everything runs much quicker in high school.” In high school, there is a lot more leniency because you are in charge of choosing your path for the next four years. Besides taking the required classes, it is important that you try to pick electives that include topics you may be interested in pursuing after high school. The more diversity in the classes you try, the more insight you will get on your likes and dislikes. For example, Civil Law is a good option if you are interested in the legal system. Look into classes such as Health Science Technology or Careers in Health Sciences if you are thinking about going into a health career. There are a variety of art and shop classes as well. Freshman, Alexis Serafin, advises for students to, “Always manage your time and think about your future.”

Do not be afraid to ask for help, especially from any upperclassman. Many will be glad to answer your questions, whether it be about where a class is or details about a class. As time goes on, you will realize there is really nothing much to fear; it just takes some getting used to!

Joining and looking into clubs and sports is a great way to get involved in the school community. These extracurricular activities are filled with people who are interested in the same things you are, and they are a great way to make new friends. EHHS offers countless numbers of clubs: HOSA, Books and Brownies, Anime Club, Art Club, Media Club, SADD, are some of the most popular. Clubs can help you become more well rounded. Trying out for a sport is a great idea as well. Sports offered at EHHS include: cross country, football, swimming, soccer, cheerleading, pom poms, wrestling, basketball, hockey, indoor track and field, golf, baseball, softball, tennis, and track and field. I am on the Pom Pom team and have been since my freshman year. Knowing people and creating bonds with the older girls really helped me because on the first day, I was able to ask them for help when I was lost or confused about something. Freshman wrestler, Marchello Torres, explained, “[Joining a sport] gave me new friends and a whole new family.” If you are interested, ask about tryouts now. They are usually before the end of your 8th grade year for fall sports, so begin looking now.

I am now a senior and it feels like just yesterday it was my first day at EHHS. I was nervous about fitting in and adapting to this new home of mine. However, I quickly transitioned and was able to become very involved in the school community. I advise meeting with your guidance counselor, as they will be very helpful throughout your four years at EHHS. As a member of the Pom Pom team, I was able to perform at halftime during football games, cheer for our hockey team, and compete all four years. I created memories with my teammates that I will never forget. I also have been class historian for the past four years, and it has really helped me make an impact on the school and my class by having a hand in facilitating school events and fundraisers. Take these next four years and make the best of them! Time goes by fast, so be sure to focus on your future and make the best memories possible!


Arianna Zambrano