Future Thunderbirds explore nest

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Each year middle school principals found they didn’t have the answer to questions commonly asked by parents of soon-to-be freshmen. To help alleviate this problem, principals met and came up with High School 101, an assembly which would answer these common questions. After about a month of floating the idea, Bellevue West administrators sent middle school students invitations with their report cards to the first ever High School 101.

Though it was aimed at parents with first time high school students, all were welcome to attend, even students not currently attending Bellevue Public Schools. Principal Kevin Rohlfs said there was a huge turnout, with parents filling the Thunderdome seating on Jan. 16, 2014. Rohlfs estimated about 500 people showed up, parents of students going to both Bellevue East and West.

During the assembly they discussed the registration guide and walked through the completion process.

“That’s kind of a daunting document if you’re a first-time high school parent,” Rohlfs said.

They also acknowledged common misconceptions about high school, such as hazing, and addressed issues such as school safety and grades.

“We also tried to answer some of the scary questions,” Rohlfs said.

Rohlfs described the assembly as helpful and enlightening.

“I think it put the parents’ minds to rest,” Rohlfs said. “It gives them a better picture of what to expect.”

And it did just that, according to eighth grader Alexis Ely. Before High School 101 she had many fears of going into high school.

“[I’m scared of] all the people who are bigger than me in the higher grades,” Ely said. “[High School 101] helped me get a better understanding of what high school was going to be like.”

However, Ely said at High School 101, classes weren’t described as in-depth as they were during registration night, which took place Feb. 12.

Her brother, sophomore Andrew Ely, said Alexis didn’t know what many of the electives were about, but registration night helped.

“She thought forensics was investigating crime scenes,” Andrew Ely said.

Alexis Ely looks forward to taking electives in high school. She’s planning on taking band, Spanish II, introduction to business and introduction to art.

“She was way too nervous about little things,” Andrew Ely said. “I was just trying to give her advice on classes that she actually should be taking.”

Sherri Brown, mother of eighth grader Chloe Brown, said High School 101 helped Chloe Brown learn what classes are required in the curriculum.

“It just helped her understand what classes she was supposed to take,” Sherri Brown said.

Eighth grader Delaney Williams said High School 101 helped her get a better idea of what type of classes she wanted to take in high school and how to prepare.

“After [High School 101] I wasn’t as nervous as I was before,” Williams said.

Though both freshman registration and High School 101 were aimed toward newcomers, they served different purposes.

“The big difference, and I told the parents this right off the bat, is that High School 101 was about the big picture, the four year plan; registration night really zooms in on what do you need to do next year as freshman,” Rohlfs said. “Registration night is very specifically about next year.”

Keri Williams, mother of eighth grader Delaney Williams, however, found registration night to be more like real life.

“[High School 101] was just a bunch of information. Tonight is actually here interacting with students. That was just an assembly where the principal talked and we listened; it wasn’t really interactive,” Keri Williams said.

Keri Williams said High School 101 told her details about high school she knew nothing about since Delaney Williams is her first child in high school.

“It’s kind of scary. It’s so different. I went to Bellevue East myself, graduated in ‘91 and it’s so different than it was back then,” Keri Williams said. “She’s excited but I don’t know. It just seems so big.”

However, Keri Williams acknowledges that with a bigger school comes “more opportunities,” which Delaney Williams said she is preparing for.

“[The scariest part of going to high school is] trying to make new friends or trying to fit into my crowd,” Delaney Williams said. “Most of my friends are going to different schools so I think it’ll be hard but I think I’ll be able to handle it.”

Sherri Brown said most of Chloe Brown’s friends are going to Bellevue East.

“It’s an adventure and she loves new experiences,” Sherri Brown said.

Delaney Williams played basketball since she was about five-years-old.

“I’ll get to meet new people and new friends from basketball,” Delaney Williams said. “I think it’ll be more competitive.”

As they were pleased with the turnout of High School 101, Rohlfs said they intend on having it again next year.

Hailey Stolze 
Editor in Chief