Coddling the Freshmen


Megan McKenzie and Lexi Kava

Freshmen Are Friends Not Food

“We know students do better if they have a reason that matters at a personal level, and the only way to do that is to connect students with other students,” said  Northern  teacher Colin Killmer. If this is the case, then Portage Northern is doing an excellent job making students better, especially  freshmen.  The students and teachers at Portage Northern pride themselves in making the freshmen feel welcome, while also creating a closer student body.

“I had no idea where I was going on my first day of freshman year,” said Sophia Burdiak (11), “so the orientation would have definitely helped.” Portage Northern is introducing new organizations for the freshmen, such as Link Crew, so that they do not end up in the same situation. “When I see younger kids that look lost, I ask if I can help,” said Link Crew member Drayke Simpkins (11). Even though not all freshmen need that helping hand and can find their way around the school by themselves, it is encouraging for everyone to know that there are students in the building ready to help, and it creates a more positive upper class.

I never got any homework freshman or sophomore year and now it’s my junior year and it’s the third week of school and I’m already behind. I wasn’t prepared for it.

— Ailee Pearce (11)

It is important for the older students in high school to have a positive attitude toward the freshmen not only in the halls, but also in extra-curricular activities. “My involvement in cheerleading and musical theater shaped the people I hang out with now,” said Victoria Pierce (11). When freshmen choose to participate in a sport or activity associated with the school, it is amazing that Portage Northern upperclassmen can be such great role models and help new students make friends and feel comfortable. Even just nice conversations with younger students in  classes can make a complete difference in their comfort levels at school. “I was in choir for a while,” said Kaitlin Wilson (11), “and everyone was very welcoming and helped me a lot.”

The students at Portage Northern aren’t the only positive influence for incoming freshmen. “The teachers are really welcoming and ready to get us started,” said Simpkins. Northern’s staff does their best to help all students achieve academic success, but go a little further to accommodate freshmen. “My teachers explained how to be more organized for high school,” said Pierce. All high school students can agree that the transition from middle school to high school isn’t always the easiest, but the teachers at Northern are doing their best to make it an easier process for all students.

“I think Northern is welcoming, but we are softening the freshmen too much,” said Burdiak. Many upper classmen would agree that the positive attitude that Northern sends to the new students here can seem a bit too coddling; however, being “too nice” is definitely better than the alternative. “I have been at schools that treat freshmen without respect,” said Killmer, “and it produces more selfish upper class which leaves everyone worse as a result.” Even though it may seem a bit smothering to make such a big effort to welcome new students to our school, it is certainly better to make an effort than to be selfish.

Link Crew, positivity in the upper class, and amazing teachers all contribute to our school’s amazing welcoming committee. Portage Northern strives to be the best at academics, athletics, theater, and creates the best students because of the connections they are able to make at school.


Why it’s a bad thing to do


“I was able to skate by on my own in freshman year without doing much, and it seems like it’s gotten worse,” said Hunter Hatley (11).  Everybody has heard the stories about how easy freshman year was and how it was simple to just slip by doing little to nothing. Many people ask if that’s how it should be, and the answer is no.

Freshman year is the year that is getting everyone ready for the rest of high school. It’s the year that starts to prepare you for IB and other classes, which will help the students get into the college of their dreams. What good will teachers do by giving full credit on late work or ignoring tardies in February when the freshman come back the next year and realize everything that didn’t count as a freshman, counts as a sophomore.  “Freshman year didn’t prepare me at all. It still felt like middle school to me,” said Caitie Bartholomew (10). The teachers should be giving out even amounts of homework in each class so the amount of work and stress doesn’t drastically change the next year. “In real life nobody is going to take it easy on you,” said Lexi Miller (10). Every single year in high school counts, It’s all a factor in what each student is going to do with their life after school.

Freshman don’t need to be mommied just because they moved into a bigger school building. Teachers and upperclassmen should not baby and coddle the freshman because it will only hurt them as they go through their high school years.  “I never got any homework freshman or sophomore year and now it’s my junior year and it’s the third week of school and I’m already behind. I wasn’t prepared for it.” said Ailee Pearce (11)