The Freshman Year Differences From Junior High Students vs Not


Ellie Krusemark

Freshmen Brant Kaltsas, Patrick Speltz, and Jun Vang.

Just under half of this year’s BSM freshman class attended BSM junior high. The ninth grade class more than doubled from the previous year’s eighth grade class. The BSM junior high has been here before, and the new students are just arriving, but they are all new to high school and the freshman year experience.

The BSM junior high curriculum emphasizes the development of academic skills that will help one succeed in high school. It focuses on language arts skills, with English and literature classes separate. In addition to math concept comprehension, including pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry. So students are prepared for advanced math classes in high school. Furthermore, every student is required to take a foreign language course in which they can study a world language of their choice.

There are many skills that are taught in the junior high that prepare students for highschool. Junior high history teacher Adam Geroge likes to incorporate skills in his curriculum that will help his students in their future. “I think organization is a big [skill] that we focus on. Just basic study skills, note taking skills. Just being prepared. I think a lot of those skills help in the senior high. I think those are probably the ones that in the generic we focus on the most,” George said.

I was excited to come into freshman year ready to make new friends that just started at BSM, but it was nice to know there will be familiar faces and friends that were here in the junior high with me,

— Patrick Speltz

Being a student at BSM junior high gives you an advantage in knowing your way around the halls. Students who have been here before freshman year have visited the Haben, Commons, and know how to get to the North Building because they have been going to these locations for two years. Freshmen at BSM who attended the junior high have confirmed this, saying that the most helpful thing going into high school was being comfortable with their surroundings and knowing how to get around. “Being in the same building as I was in junior high has been nice, because I know all my ways around the school,” freshman Brandt Kaltsas said.

Along with knowing your way around the hallways, students from the junior high know their classmates. Every year, about 100 students begin seventh grade, and a more sizable number enroll in eighth grade alone. Everyone in seventh grade in the BSM junior high is new and in the same situation as you. Some students enter the school year knowing one or more classmates from their previous school. Through retreats, games, and group activities both inside and outside of the classroom, the junior high school does a great job of getting students to interact with their new surrounding peers. “I was excited to come into freshman year ready to make new friends that just started at BSM, but it was nice to know there will be familiar faces and friends that were here in the junior high with me,” freshman Patrick Speltz said.

The junior high student body is eager to branch out and meet new people as freshman year approaches. The new students may recognize some familiar faces, but the majority of the new students that arrive at BSM usually only know one other peer. It is a good balance of freshman year new students looking to make friends and junior high students looking to branch out from their junior high peers. “Being a new freshman in the BSM community was somewhat difficult because I didn’t really know anybody. But the people here are really welcoming and it has been a good experience meeting new people,” freshman Jun Vang said.

Although some new students may struggle to adjust to their new surroundings, students returning from junior high do too. Most freshmen agree that academics in high school are much more difficult than they were previously accustomed to. They must now balance multiple responsibilities in high school: sports schedules become more hectic, tests become more frequent, and due dates become more rigid. “The teachers in the highschool give us more homework and overall schoolwork is harder,” Speltz said.

As the BSM freshman class is in the midst of checking off the completion of their ninth grade year, they are all in the same position. The students from the junior high seem to have an advantage knowing the hallways and recognizing familiar faces, but in the end everyone is still new to highschool. The majority of people, whether they are from the junior high or another school, share a common objective. Students want to interact with their peers and succeed academically.