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Fresh start: Ninth-graders describe transition, pan mentoring

By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor

A quick survey shows that the class of 2021 have different views on their transition from middle school to high school, most describing it as “somewhat positive” with “little help from their mentors and staff.”

Graduating from middle school is a great achievement, but as we continue to grow and transition, school can become more difficult. The school becomes bigger, the work gets harder, the teachers seem stricter — it’s basically a fresh start.

As a freshman two years ago, my transition was kind of tough, considering I was the only one out of my middle school friend group to get accepted into Pompano. I had no friends and didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. I had to fend for myself until things finally fell into place.These freshmen, though? They are persistent; they just may survive high school.

Kyle Zahn was the only freshman out of the groups surveyed to say that his transition was very positive. Zahn attended Deerfield Beach Middle School and was a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which he thinks helped with his transition.

“The workload was about the same as this, and the IB program really helped me prepare for Pompano Beach High School,” Zahn said.

Other freshmen saw their transition differently. Paul Spade, for example, was one of the many freshmen who described their transition as somewhat positive, mentioning how useless the mentoring program is in easing this dramatic change in their lives.

“Mentors don’t really do anything, and they can’t relate to us,” Spade said.

Jon-David Delcastillo had similar views as Spade, also describing his transition as somewhat positive in spite of the mentoring program.

“Freshmen don’t really want to do anything at the mentoring sessions,” Delcastillo said. “Mentors do nothing, anyway.”

The current freshman class feels that they have not been given enough help to ease their transition into high school, but the mentors have their own opinions on this. They feel that the freshmen don’t want or won’t ask for their mentors’ help despite having it. Mentors feel that there is room for improvement with the program, though, and shared their thoughts on the matter.

Senior Katerina Argianas suggested that the program would be more effective if mentors were assigned to fewer kids than they’re assigned to now, such as providing one mentor for two kids instead of one mentor for five.

“Doing this would allow more people to communicate with each other,” Argianas said.

Junior Matthew Narkier also recommended that there should be fewer activities and more bonding between mentees, since they’ve agreed that the program is “boring.”

“We should be able to talk to them and hang out with them,” Narkier said. “I feel like they kind of feel like it’s more of a ‘work thing’ whenever we see them because they’re always doing little projects and stuff like that.”

So, freshmen, help is here for you. Please, don’t be afraid to ask!

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