Ninth grade is largest class yet

Nikhil Patel, Editor-in-Chief

Entering U-High, the Class of 2023 is the largest class yet, but only 18 students are new to Lab this year which is largely due to increased enrollment when the current ninth graders were in middle school.

Four new juniors are also joining the high school this year.

The size of the class does cause some concern about typical high school activities, such as ones meant to build community like advisories.

“We are trying to be conscientious with certain things like advisories, which are supposed to create smaller communities for our students,” Asra Ahmed, assistant principal, said. “Our lead advisors to the ninth grade, which are Laura Doto and Fran Spaltro, are working with the ninth grade cohort of advisers to build in lots of team building and group development activities because when you have a class that big, it’s really a challenge for everyone to feel connected to the school.”

We’re doing everything that we usually do, we’re just looking at it with a closer eye because of the size of the class.”

— Asra Ahmed, assistant principal

Club shopping is another activity that will be affected by the large size of the class. According to Ms. Ahmed, faculty are working to make sure that every student knows about what is occurring and that they feel encouraged to get involved. Ms. Ahmed also expects the new students to benefit from U-High’s peer-to-peer program, where sophomores work to help their ninth graders classmates adjust to their new school.

Freshman retreat at Cedar Lake, Indiana, Aug. 29-30, served as a good way for new ninth graders to get acquainted with their immediate academic community before school started. Students who were excited to meet the new students were offered an opportunity to get to know them.

“The activities that the peer leaders made encouraged interaction between everyone,” ninth grader Akshay Badlani, who is starting his third year with the Class of 2023, said.

On the whole, however, most things will remain the same.

“We’re doing everything that we usually do,” Ms. Ahmed said. “We’re just looking at it with a closer eye because of the size of the class.”

So far, everything has gone all right.

“Freshman retreat went great, and here we are on the first day of school,” Ms. Ahmed said. “There are some logistical things in places like P.E., where the locker room is still under construction, and it is a large class to accommodate, but so far everything is going fine.”