Changes on Campus
by Dan Kim on Friday, May 18th, 2012
With the end of the school year approaching, both students and faculty cannot help but notice the changing dynamic inside and outside the classroom as seniors go on project. Juniors and underclassmen must now take on greater leadership roles in the absence of the past year’s leaders. However, this upwards transition has been somewhat overwhelming for many individuals, who find themselves unready for the new expectation of being the school’s role models.
Outside the classroom, the changes are plainly visible: a large empty space at all-school assemblies that is now reserved for incoming freshmen, a lack of people in the upperclassmen areas in the Forbes dining hall and the student center, and many other uninhabited senior hangouts. Class assemblies have also changed locations, as each class symbolically moves up a grade.
Inside the classroom, the changes are subtle but significant nonetheless. “Seniors were very active participants in class discussions,” said Julien Lauretti (II), “and it feels weird to see empty seats in my classes.” Danielle Cahoon (II) added, “my class doesn’t feel complete anymore. They were a source of valuable input, having had more experience at Milton and in a high school setting.” Charlie Perkins (II), in what was perhaps a sincere response, said, “It feels like a piece of my heart got taken away.” Yet another junior, Ari Spilo (II), stated, “My classes are more individualized, which is good and bad at the same time, because while teachers are able to focus more on me as a student, we get a lot more work.” Overall, students whose classes have shrunk in size due to the departure of seniors agree that the seniors were a central part of classes and will be missed.
The seniors’ departure also marks the beginning of the transitional period for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. The freshmen, having experienced their first year in the upper school, head into sophomore year with a fairly good idea of what their Milton experience will be like, with three whole years to make the best of it. Babafunso Akinwunmi (I) advised the freshmen, “When you leave, you regret things that you didn’t do. Milton provides so many opportunities and fosters a friendly environment for students to explore new passions. A lot of students, myself included, go through Milton without taking advantage of it.”
Sophomores are only halfway through their academic career. As they face the prospect of junior year, widely considered the most important time of high school, some await the challenge with hope while others dread the thought of junior hardships. Rex Li (III) said, “I feel ready for junior year. I’m not going to stress myself over how hard it will be.” On the other hand, some rising juniors expressed their concern: “No one ever says anything good about junior year. I may have to make major changes to my work ethic to make it through,” said Jason Yoo (III).
However, the rising senior class faces the biggest challenge. Not only will they assume new responsibilities as seniors, but they must also prepare for the college process that has, in a way, already begun this spring. Julien Lauretti (II) shared his worries about the process, saying, “I’m excited to be a senior but at the same time afraid of what’s ahead in terms of work.”
Often called “the beginning of the end of high school,” this transitional phase for seniors has already transformed Milton’s social and academic landscape. This shifting dynamic will provide a sense of what next year will be like with the new rising seniors leading the way. The class of 2012 will submit and present their projects in only three weeks time, before we bid them a final farewell in early June.
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