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Freshman Wing impacts four-year journey

Freshman+Wing+impacts+four-year+journey
Rafael Hiciano

It’s been four years since the opening of the Freshman Wing, and now every grade has gotten a feel of what it’s like. Both teachers and students shed light on pros and cons of having a separate space for first-year students.

The Freshman Wing is an isolated area where freshmen take their core classes and interact with one another. In this area, there are four pods used for studying and socializing. This helps freshman students get used to the high school environment without being completely overwhelmed.

Mr. JD Davis, a freshman history teacher who works in the wing, said, “I like the fact that, when you come into high school… you’re not just thrown into the fire as a freshman.” 

Principal Jeff Spilker emphasized the Freshman Wing’s successes as a space for collaboration and academic support, and he said that led to a better understanding of the student body. “We know our kids,” Spilker said.

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The principal envisions adding TV’s to every pod in the Freshman Wing as an easier way to relay information.

The soon-to-be graduating class of seniors were the first students to use the wing in their freshman year.

Senior Kate Ligon said she felt the wing not only benefited students academically, but socially as well.

“It really helps because … you get integrated into [high school] slowly,” Ligon said. “With the events it provides, you can meet a bunch of other freshmen … as well as getting used to your teachers.” 

Senior Jenna Eggertsen expressed more mixed feelings about the experience, saying there was a big jump from freshman to sophomore year.

“They should have just put us all in the same thing,” Eggertsen said, “because I never prepared myself for that.”

Eggertsen said she felt the Freshmen Wing was built primarily to help teachers out, as it was “made more convenient” for the teacher rather than the students.

Some juniors also shared their thoughts about the wing they once roamed.

“I think being in those pods was really helpful, going outside of class and doing work or just hanging out,” junior Talan Draft said. 

Junior Brady Palmer took a more stereotypical stance: “I don’t really like the freshman, but the Freshman Wing keeps them outta the rest of the school’s hair, and halls are less cluttered.” 

Mr. Casey Brown teaches biology in the Freshman Wing. (Amber Tomasek)

Coming to the end of their first semester of high school, some this year’s freshmen expressed appreciation for the wing.

“It benefits the freshmen by giving them their own space to work in their own environment,” freshman Jayden Lenderts said. 

Without it, freshman year could be more intimidating for some students.

“On the first week of school,” Lenderts said, “they would feel unsettled by the bigger upperclassmen.” 

Freshman Addie Nielsen said it definitely made the transition feel less overwhelming for her.

“This school is four times the size of my middle school, so I don’t want to get lost,” Nielsen said.

However, freshman Jacksen Countryman expressed some concern that the isolation might take away too much of the high school reality.

Looking ahead to next year, when this freshmen class will join the rest of the student body navigating the whole building, Countryman said: “I feel like it will be such a crazy jump.”

Freshmen do attend elective classes all over the school, but usually with mostly other freshmen, which could make it hard to adapt after the first year. 

Even with those challenges, many freshmen agree having the wing is more beneficial than not having a wing. 

“The Freshman Wing allows me to get to my classes easily,” freshman Brett Brown said. 

Brown also said he was OK with moving on next year: “I think the Freshman Wing should be the only separate wing, because you’re the youngest, but if you go up a grade, you’re like the middle child in a family.”

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Lydia Farmer, Staff Reporter
My name is Lydia Farmer. I am in 11th grade and look forward to sharing what I believe is important to our school.
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