How are freshmen faring?

Ninth grade students face new challenges of high school coupled with virtual school


Freshmen Adison Irace and Maddie Bollinger take a selfie during first quarter.

With COVID-19 and school, online learning has become the new norm for many high schools. The freshman experience has changed a lot with online learning. Coming into a big school with only knowing a small portion of people can be scary for underclassmen, but it can be even more difficult when you aren’t even in the building.

Roman Ashman, freshman, said he has had a good year so far. 

“I’ve met a few people from Southwest [Middle School] that I didn’t know,” he said.

Ashman said he likes high school so far, but he misses middle school.

I just hope being online won’t last long and at first online learning was a little stressful so my grades weren’t the best, but once I got into the flow of it they were good,” he said.

With South doing full online, this brings many pros and cons to everyday life for students.

The pros of online learning are that it’s less stressful to get up and move all the way across the school when I can just chill in one place, and do everything there,” Ashman said. 

Some students like and dislike online classes, Ashman said, “No, I do not like full online learning. Because even though it may be easier to not move around the school, I still miss it, and wish I could at least see my friends every day.”

Adison Irace, freshman, talks about her say on the amount of help teachers give.

 “It lets people get extra help,” she said.  

Teachers at South are trying to do the most to help their students do their best, which makes freshmen feel more comfortable.

I have tried to give small, frequent assessments instead of larger unit tests. I am doing this so that students are not overwhelmed, since they have enough on their ‘stress-level’ plate. I also have used break out rooms,” history teacher Amy Hubbard said. 

Teachers at South are really experiencing a new way of teaching, and that can be hard when you can’t be face-to-face with a student.  

  “Normally, as Freshmen come to the high school for the first time, there is a learning curve for them. The transition to high school has been even more difficult this year since, as a teacher, it is more difficult to see where students are struggling and know exactly how to help them remotely. It is easier to be disengaged over Zoom and just sink back on the couch. I think it is very difficult for students without having their friends and peers around,” Hubbard said. 

Not only has online learning affected students’ schoolwork and teachers but it has also affected mental health, especially with freshmen.  

“Online hasn’t affected my mental health that bad, it just makes me really bored. But I know that a lot of other people have struggled with mental health, and if we keep doing online fully it will only get worse,” Ashman said. 

Many freshmen have also not experienced normal high school activities, but they are still making the most of it. 

Hannah Stimetz, freshman, said she thinks her freshman year is going well, so far.

“It’s actually really fun even with the whole COVID situation,” she said.

“I have made friends with a lot of upperclassmen with a lot of advanced classes,” Stimetz said. 

Many freshmen have adapted to online learning. Teachers and link crew leaders are doing their best to help the freshman!  

“I’m excited to be in high school; it’s just a lot more different than what I thought it would be when I was in eighth grade,” Ashman said.