Ninth graders learn from juniors, seniors through new initiative


Malcolm Taylor

Ninth graders on Jackman Field participate in orientation Sept. 12 to become familiar with U-High. Although they have spent the first part high school in distance learning, ninth graders may receive advice from juniors and seniors through the Academic, Community, Engagement, Social Advice initiative.

An Ngo, Assistant Editor

Driven by a need for connection with the rest of the high school, the new Academic, Community, Engagement, Social Advice initiative proposed by the ninth grade officers and passed by Student Council will start weekly meetings where junior and senior students give advice to ninth graders spanning a wide range of topics.

The meetings will occur on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. Ninth graders will be able to ask questions through a form their class representatives will post on Schoology earlier in the week or during the meetings.

The ACES initiative differs from the peer leading program, which also aims to give ninth graders guidance and connection with juniors and seniors. Peer leaders enroll in a class with certain requirements, whereas participation in the ACES initiative will be voluntary, according to Dean of Students Ana Campos. 

Another difference is that because participation in ACES is volunteer based, juniors and seniors will get to sign up to give advice on areas where they have more expertise.

“The older students, if they have something to say about it, are probably going to jump in and give some advice or give some guidance,” Ms. Campos said. “And if they have nothing to say about it, they’ll just stay out of it… but it’s trying to help make connections because they’re hard to make right now.” 

Ninth graders have had to adopt a heavier, high school-level workload while not fully experiencing the vast social and academic changes of transitioning from middle school.

“It’s so weird because sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m in high school because, yes, the workload dramatically increased, so we’re doing the work of a high school student,” Class of 2024 President Zoe Nathwani said, “but socially it’s so weird to actually envision myself walking through the high school and going from class to class.”