By Grace Aderibigbe
Middle school gives two years of flexibility and excitement to elementary school students, while simultaneously preparing them for high school classes. During these two “grace” years, students are shielded from the demanding AP classes, intense sport activities and substantial responsibilities present in high school life. With pre-high school events that prepare them to face these challenges, middle school students are more than ready to move onto another chapter of their school lives. NHP, in particular, has all sorts of activities that their middle school population happily takes part in before they are subject to the strict confines of high school. However, with the onset of COVID, many of these school sanctioned affairs have been shut down.
Field day, out of class field trips and friendly battles between the blue and white teams are all core memories of middle school of which many New Hyde Park Memorial students become nostalgic in their later years, as well as all memories that this year’s freshmen seem to lack. Being one of the most important transitions in students’ educational careers, the years from middle school to high school have been a tradition for almost everyone. With the absence of these events, many freshmen are unsurprisingly upset.
“I wish I knew what field day was like; I was looking forward to it,” said freshman Deborah Aderibigbe.
“We were kind of thrown into an intimidating environment and were expected to learn quickly, like small fish thrown into a big ocean,” said freshman Abby Chacko.
Artwork by Saffah Azeem
Freshmen are faced with an unfamiliar environment of lockers and classrooms as they navigate the school.
Embodying the resilient nature of the NHP Gladiator, however, many freshmen have quickly adapted to the sudden changes in their school environment by picking up new and refined social skills, becoming technologically savvy and broadening their view on education.
“Missing out on school activities, such as field day, was upsetting. The social connections with other students being slowly taken away from us was also hard, but adjusting to a new environment gave us life lessons that we’ll never forget,” said freshman Grace Leonard.
Looking on the bright side, the class of 2025 can have the full, in-person experience of high school. With four more years ahead of them, ninth graders take on a new definition of “freshman.”