Four years later, Steven Schmitz, 17, of Mount Airy still remembers his first day at South Carroll High School, because he got lost finding his way to his second-period class.
“I was 30 minutes late,” he said. “Luckily, there was one seat left [when I got there] so I just slipped into it.”
Now, as a senior at the high school, Schmitz is helping to make sure that no member of next year’s freshman class has the same experience he did.
Steven was one of about two dozen South Carroll students who led guided tours for about 130 Mount Airy Middle School eighth-graders Friday, as part of the high school’s transition program. The program, which has been a part of the school for at least three years, along with a tour of the building, featured a panel discussion, at which current students spoke about their experiences moving from middle school to high school.
This was the first year that students from Mount Airy Middle School have participated in the program, with Friday being one of two visits the high school hosted last week for incoming ninth-grade students. For at least two years, the high school has held a summer transitional program for students at New Windsor Middle School, said Jason Arnold, an academic facilitator at South Carroll.
There are about 250 students in the Mount Airy Middle School eighth-grade class.
“[The transition visit] is just so the [eighth-graders] can get comfortable with the school day,” he said.
Homework, navigating social circles and the importance of time management were among the topics discussed during the event.
“Enjoy high school and don’t take it for granted,” was the advice that senior Zach Collete, 17, of Mount Airy offered students during the panel discussion. Zach said that it’s important for the current high school students to help the incoming freshmen.
“We all started at the same place,” he said. “To be able to pass down your knowledge to [others] is cool.”
Sarah Parker, 16, a junior, said she wished she understood how much more responsibility high school is when she was a freshman.
“It’s a lot harder than what you think,” she said, during the event. “You have to teach yourself a lot.”
Arnold said that this year’s program addresses themes from essays written by students from the class of 2014, in which they discussed what they wish they would have known at the beginning of high school.
Mount Airy Middle School students will have another chance to become familiar with the school when they attend high school orientation in August.
Many of the eighth-graders, including Mackenzie Wenczkowski, 15, of Mount Airy, said that they found the program to be “helpful.”
“I feel like I have a lot more confidence going into the year [now],” Mackenzie said. “I’m excited...”