PRHS Night Watch

Transition Project begins second year with success

Alli Uhl, Dana DiBella, Kristina Anzilotti, Dana Soulas, and Julia Wharton

Dana Soulas, Contributer

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The transition into high school is one of the best- yet scariest- experiences in life.  In many other schools, you are a freshman when you transition. In Park Ridge Jr./Sr. High School, you are a seventh grader. Seeing the juniors and seniors pass you in the hallway or hearing myths that “sevys” get shoved in lockers can bring worrisome thoughts before you can even take your first steps into the building.

Growing up in Park Ridge and going to the public schools separates you from meeting kids on the other side of town. Under different circumstances, you might meet them if you play sports or are a part of a town-wide activity. Some students also transfer from Our Lady of Mercy Academy, which means they might not know anyone from West Ridge or East Brook.

Park Ridge High School recently developed a program designed to assist incoming seventh graders have a smooth and successful transition into the high school. The program, entitled the Middle School Transition Project, uses upperclassmen as mentors for the new seventh graders. Each set of upperclassman are assigned to a group of seventh graders, organized by the advising teachers, Tara Kane and Rachel Erdmann. This gives the students the ability to interact and meet new peers from the other schools.

The program meets several times throughout the year to check up on the students and see how their first year is going. The most recent outreach took place on September 20th. It consisted of mentor introductions, an interactive name game, and the construction of a group flag. During an interview with Tara Kane, she said “Our first full blown outreach went very well. I was very impressed with it. You had 13 people that would come together to create this flag that represented all of them.” She also mentioned that there are many new ideas that are in the process of happening and how excited she is for the future of this program.

While talking to several seventh graders, they all mentioned how scared they were when coming into the building for the first time. A seventh grader, Caitlyn Bratcher, described seventh grade as being her worst enemy before she got her. She said, “I was scared that I would have nowhere to sit at lunch, I would not make new friends, and that seventh grade would be terrible.” Twins Thomas and Colin McGuire stated that they feel like they have more opportunities here than “at OLM and that they now have someone to talk to.”

Providing different opportunities and helping younger students through a difficult transition offers a rewarding feeling to the ambassadors and teachers. The Transition Project is off to a fantastic start. As Mrs. Kane concluded, “the parents are loving it, the faculty is loving it, and it’s a great program.”

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Transition Project begins second year with success