Fall Fears In The Freshman Division


Nerlyn Martinez-Esqueda, Writer-East

It’s no secret that all students at Elkhart-East will be heading West next fall. But, as big of a change as that will be, it cannot compare to what next year’s incoming freshmen will be experiencing!

Remember what it was like leaving the comfort of middle school and coming to a new, gigantic high school building?–wondering how to get to each class, confused about how the lunch periods worked, and fearing what those upperclassmen would think? Now, think about how much more strange this will feel to next year’s freshmen when they are the only ones in the building!

Welcome to the Freshman Division.

A primary purpose of his merger is to give students the opportunity to explore a career field more in depth, focusing on one of the six Schools of Study. For the freshmen, that will entail learning about each School of Study and transitioning into a career-ready mindset. But, as beneficial as it may actually be, some incoming freshmen are not quite sold on the idea yet.

Valeria Cruz-Portillo, an eighth grader at North Side Middle School, is one of them. “I think that the Freshman Division wasn’t the best idea,” she begins. “We’re only going to be 14 and 15 years old and having to choose a career path to work in!” The idea of that is a little frightening to her. Thus, she adds, “If anything, I think a Senior Division would’ve been a better idea.”

Cruz-Portillo is also a bit saddened by the fact that some of the high school experiences she had been anticipating will never materialize. “The Central and Memorial rivalry was also always fascinating,” she admits. But, maybe a new rival will be on the horizon to replace the old. Trying to look to the bright side, Cruz-Portillo points to one positive aspect: “I do like the fact that we get to be around people we haven’t seen since elementary school!”

Emily Martinez-Esqueda, also an eighth grader at North Side Middle School, shares similar concerns. “I feel pretty nervous about the Freshman Division,” she confides. “This is mostly because there will be more students my age than there usually are.” Adding on, she says, “I think having so many students–especially some who have yet to mature–together isn’t a very bright idea.”

For students, the social aspect is understandably as important as the academic ones. “Although I believe that some of my classmates are excited to see friends they haven’t seen in years,” Martinez-Esqueda explains, “I am as well excited to meet new people who share my interests and at the chance of meeting new friends.” As for the learning aspect? “I do think that we freshmen will have more of a chance to think about what we want to do in the next few years, as well as classes we’d like to take in order to continue on to college.” 

At the moment, though, neither girl feels adequately prepared for the unknowns that lie ahead. “All I’ve been told is that we will be in another building than everyone else–basically what everyone knows,” Martinez-Esqueda admits. Hopefully, teachers and the administrators put their worries at ease in the next couple of months, because–ready or not–here they come!