Freshmen settle in to Academy life

Caitlin Vaka, AP Lit Set 6

A mutual awkwardness among a group of girls who are just getting to know each other.  New teachers and high expectations. The crowded fourth-floor locker room in the first weeks of school. The move to new lockers in September – some happy, some not, with the change. Kearney projects coming up…Yes, we’re talking about freshman year at Academy.

On August 16,  108 nervous and excited girls filled the Brady Center, anxious to meet their new classmates and catch a glimpse of what this all-girls high school was all about. In came the seniors, a tightly-knit and enthusiastic group, who were equally excited to meet the freshmen and give them an Academy-style welcome, filled with loud songs, a little teasing, and  tons of sisterly love.

Fast forward about a month,  and the Academy’s newest members have settled in, getting into the routine of classes and new locker assignments, an all-girl environment and the ever-important skill of managing their time. After the first month has passed, many upper class girls ask the same question: What do the freshmen think of our beloved school?

Freshman Mia Batansky states that Academy is everything she expected it to be. “I expected it to be really fun and academically challenging. I would always hear about how late the girls had to stay up, but I’ve found that the teachers really help with homework and give a lot of one-on-one attention.”

“It’s so much better than my old middle school!” Gabrielle Madden exclaims.  “When I came to Academy in seventh grade, it was such a wonderful change. Everyone was so much nicer and it’s a better environment. I expected it to continue to get better, and it has. I can’t wait to experience everything else throughout high school!”

“I didn’t expect the older girls to be so interactive and sociable with us. Every time any of them take the time to learn our name or just say hi in the halls, they may think they are just being kind, but it really does make our day,”  Katherine Hobson adds.

It”s no surprise that high school, let alone an all-girls school, is a large adjustment for many. When asked about what made her feel most welcomed to the school, Maddie Cassidy answered, “The teachers have really made me feel most welcome. They give you such individualized attention and try to make everything more manageable for you as a student. It’s been a lot easier to manage school with sports and a social life than I had originally thought.”

Batansky agreed and added,  “The sophomores have really made me feel most welcome. They will come up and try to get to know us at lunch by sitting with us and having a conversation.”

Now what about the new locker situation? Upper classmen enviously eye the new “Freshman Lounge” on the fourth floor, wishing they had such a great hangout area when they were freshmen. The remodeled freshman locker room has cleared out the middle locker space, moving many freshmen  to the third floor or  opposite end of the fourth-floor hall.

For these freshmen , dealing with the change from middle school to high school is a nervous and exciting experience for all. Together they will share highs and lows and grow within  themselves as well as a class.  Seniors know that these new friendships will last a lifetime, forging inseparable bonds and memories that they will cherish long after they graduate. 

As their four years come to a close, this year’s freshman class will come to embody the inner beauty that Dr. Purpur talks about in his letter addressing prospective families. “As graduates will tell you it is the inner beauty, the focus and attention to core values, education in faith, and a life focused on the greater good that truly distinguishes an Academy graduate.”

 Best of luck Class of 2014, your sisters can’t wait to see you grow into the young women you are destined to be.