Relationship panel held in freshmen health classes


Molly Flannery

Seniors Mark Falls, Jackie Lawyer, Tommy Borin, and Keara Clacko, all in relationships, gave advice during freshmen health classes.

The bell rings as young, wide-eyed freshmen wander to their desks and patiently wait for Ms. Alisa May to start speaking. This sounds like an average day in health class. Suddenly, Dr. Steffenson, followed by seven intimidating upperclassmen, make their way through the door and take their seats facing the freshmen.

On Friday, November 21, all of May’s freshmen health classes participated in a panel hosted by upperclassmen regarding relationships. 3-4 couples and one single student come into each class and answer questions provided by May, Dr. Steffenson, and the freshmen themselves.

The purpose of these panels are to help guide freshmen in the often confusing world of high school dating and relationships. “I think that freshman are a little unsure about the whole dating scene, and what’s normal and what’s not normal, and when they see kids up there, both in relationships and not, they start to realize: ‘oh, I don’t have to be in a relationship freshman year, and I can wait,’” May said.

One unique aspect of the relationship panel is the fact that they include one single student, who show the freshmen that you can have fun and still be single in high school. “Singles show [the freshmen] that not everyone’s in a relationship, that’s okay, and the single people are turning out just fine,” senior Megan Hamilton, who is in charge of coordinating the panel, said.

By putting a single student in the panel, it lowers the social pressure of having a serious relationship in high school. “I think that it gives a sense of relief to the kids, that not everybody is in a relationship in high school, and that it’s okay that they might not be,” May said.

Even though you don’t have to date in high school, relationships can be beneficial. When one is in a relationship, they tend to discover things about themselves that they didn’t know before. “[Dating] is not only about getting to know the other person, but about starting to figure out what things or traits you like in other people, and maybe things that you would want to stay away from,” May said.

The panel offers clarity to the freshmen, who are leaving behind middle school flings and being exposed to serious, long term relationships, and also reassures that not being in a relationship in high school is normal, and not something that anyone should be ashamed of.