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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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ICYMI: June 10 - The Class of 2024s graduation, volleyball state championship and Junes Fashionista of the Month
ICYMI: June 10 - The Class of 2024's graduation, volleyball state championship and June's Fashionista of the Month
June 17, 2024
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WHS prepares for the Class of 2028

Credit: Courtesy of Sara Pourghasemi
The 2023 to 2024 Summer Bridge Program participants paint the windows overlooking the library as a bonding activity. The Summer Bridge Program and other transition programs are meant to prepare incoming freshmen for the switch from middle school to high school.

As the end of the 2024 school year approaches, the Wayland High School administration and faculty begin preparing to welcome the Class of 2028. To help the incoming freshmen acclimate to high school, WHS has various programs in place to ensure that the transition from Wayland Middle School goes as smoothly as possible without overwhelming new students.

The first step in the middle school transition process is the annual WMS visit. On Monday, March 25, some students from WHS visited WMS math classrooms to offer advice and answer questions about high school. This visit was meant to provide middle schoolers with a sense of what high school will be like and introduce the different courses available to ninth graders.

“I decided to go [to the WMS visit] because I remember being in eighth grade and being nervous about starting high school, but after the high schoolers visited, I genuinely felt better, so I wanted to have that same effect on others,” senior Juliana Perdomo-Barrios said.

The counselors of the WHS guidance department believe that having students share their firsthand high school experiences with eighth graders is more impactful than hearing general information about high school from faculty.

“[Middle schoolers] would much rather hear from [students] than from us,” WHS Guidance Department Head Benjamin Buffa said. “I think it’s beneficial for a million reasons. Kids are more willing, I think, to listen when they kind of ‘idolize’ the high school kids.”

For some high schoolers, middle school feels like just a short time ago, causing them to recall the high school transition vividly and understand the feelings associated with it. Students who feel this way, including Perdomo-Barrios, may choose to participate in high school transition programs like the WMS visit because they want to help incoming freshmen by sharing their experiences.

“It was interesting because I still feel like an eighth grader, so to remember their age and then talking to them from my point of view was a little odd,” Perdomo-Barrios said. “I feel like I did have knowledge to pass down after four years of high school.”

In addition to volunteering for the WMS visit, high school students can also volunteer to be a part of the Peer Leader Program, and these volunteers are called peer mentors. This program is spearheaded by Buffa and School Adjustment Counselor Jennifer Sullivan, and is meant to connect incoming ninth graders with upperclassmen who can support them through their first year of high school.

“[The freshmen] really seem to listen to the message of support more when it’s coming from an upperclassman and not a teacher,” WHS Academic Support Coordinator Aimee Lima said. “I think beyond the academic content, there’s sort of a relationship forming between an upper-class student and a freshman. This can really help the incoming ninth grader or any underclassmen feel more connected to the school.”

The Peer Leader Program extends throughout the year for various transition activities, from Step Over Day in June to the Summer Bridge Program in August. The Summer Bridge Program began in 2021 as a way to combat the learning gap formed during COVID-19, but it has since evolved into an opportunity for incoming ninth graders to experience WHS before the school year begins.

“Over time, the Summer Bridge program has shifted to be more about the high school transition instead of anything related to COVID-19,” Lima said. “So, that’s about getting to know the campus, getting to know some upperclassmen peer mentors, getting to know some expectations of high school and just feeling at home at the high school before the first day of school.”

While the Summer Bridge program focuses on acclimating students to what high school will be like by having them attend classes with WHS teachers and experiencing lunch periods in the Commons, peer mentors also organize bonding activities that aim to allow students to enjoy their time at WHS.

“In the past, peer mentors have organized a scavenger hunt in the school,” Lima said. “On the first day, peer mentors might give a tour of the school, and later in the week, students are now seeking out locations that are specific to our school. Activities organized by peer mentors could also be something fun, like making friendship bracelets, but overall it’s just about the bonding experience.”

According to Lima, the transition programs allow the incoming ninth graders to feel more comfortable in the school they will be attending for the next four years of their lives. Every year, this belief is solidified for her as she observes the program’s benefits reflected in students’ behavior and attitudes.

“What I like to see the most is our ninth grade students feel comfortable and confident in our building, whether it’s from the middle school visits in the math classes, the step over day or Summer Bridge,” Lima said. “I [want students to] feel comfortable and confident, and not start high school on their first day being terrified and not knowing where to go. It’s nice for [school] to be a comfortable place for students.”

WHS administration and guidance counselors hope that the transition programs allow the incoming ninth graders to feel welcome and adjusted to high school. If students have any questions about the middle school to high school transition process, they can reach out to the WHS guidance department.

“I really appreciate kids giving their time to kind of help mentor the next generation, I think that’s a really nice thing,” Buffa said. “I also love seeing students that were once scared eighth graders grow into their roles as peer mentors. It’s cool seeing kids starting to grow into their more adult selves, especially because a few short years ago, they were the ones we were talking to.”


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About the Contributors
Nadya Chase
Nadya Chase, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Nadya Chase, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and a co-editor-in-chief for WSPN. Inside of school, she is the secretary of National Honor Society. Outside of school, she enjoys karate, reading, walking her dogs and spending time with family and friends. Contact: [email protected]
Katya Luzarraga
Katya Luzarraga, Staff Managing Editor
Katya Luzarraga, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and staff managing editor for WSPN. She plays for the girls varsity tennis team and is a member of Student Advocacy Committee club. She is also a peer mentor at WHS and head of WSPN club. Outside of school, she loves to take walks with her dog, discover new books and spend time with friends. Contact: [email protected]
Jenny Shine
Jenny Shine, Copy Editor
Jenny Shine, Class of 2024, is a second year reporter for WSPN. She is captain of the Wayland girls basketball team. Outside of school, she enjoys playing club basketball, traveling and spending time with friends and family.   Contact: [email protected]
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