Freshmen fighting to meet high school standards


Talya Gabay

Freshman Caelyn Feldman compares her eighth grade ID to her new ninth grade ID. Due to COVID-19, students have to fulfill the gap from online learning.

As students graduate middle school and enter high school, they face many challenges. These challenges can be expected for every freshman class. However the class of 2025  has a new challenge to overcome.

When advancing to Perry, the large campus can be seen as intimidating to students. As there are thousands of students bumbling across campus, and large buildings with lots of classrooms, students may feel scared to get lost. “On the first day of school and the first week, I was really nervous I would get lost and be late for my classes. I put so much pressure on myself to make a good impression on everyone and didn’t want to ruin it by being late so it was stressful,” said freshman Caelyn Feldmen.

Perry has many students  and it can be hard to find a good group of friends. Fitting in can seem impossible at times, especially when there are lots of new faces everywhere you go. Being a freshman and the new kid on campus is hard enough because you have a major learning curve. New classes, teachers, buildings, where students have to be at a certain time and how long does my trek across campus take? Who will I sit with at lunch? What do I wear to make me seem cool? Those are hard enough questions and when mixed in upperclassmen that seem to have everything figured out, it causes a feeling of stress.

In addition, the jump from grades not having as much impact in middle school, to grades now  determining their future, often overwhelms students. This leads to feeling fearful of responsibility and not knowing how to handle the load of homework, time management, and balancing their social life.

For the class of 2025, this year’s freshmen have an unusual circumstance. The last time freshmen were in school before COVID-19 was when they were in seventh grade. Due to this, there is a developmental gap between students’ learning and their behavioral actions. This not only affects the students, but also teachers as many of them found themselves changing their curriculum to fit the new needs of students.

“I definitely have had to rearrange how I teach this year a little bit, and kind of give the students a little more grace and space with what’s expected of them, due dates, and things like that,” said freshman english teacher Penny Snyder. Freshman’s lack of an eighth grade year robbed students of the time to pick up responsibilities due to online learning and when going back to school, not having the same relationships and interactions with other students and their teachers.

Learning how to manage time is another crucial skill to learn and it is difficult for students to develop this without having their entire middle school experience. “It doesn’t give us the opportunity to have all those experiences that we normally would and so when we don’t have that, we have less time to get through things and understand things,” said freshman Hannah Johnson.

This development gap means that students must get used to the new adjustments in order to prevail and be successful in the upcoming years. However, with the accommodations and support from Perry staff and other peers, the current freshman class will hopefully gain the skills and end up successful.