New Freshman Arrive, Kind Of

Nicole Murphy and Kate Teasdale

Every year, Burroughs accepts around fifteen new students into the freshman class, and welcomes them into the JBS community through various introductory activities. However, due to the current circumstances, the nineteen incoming ninth-graders’ experience has been unusual. In previous years, the new freshmen were given a chance to connect with one another as well as the returning students at Drey Land Plus. This trip to the Burroughs’ owned camping grounds is an opportunity to familiarize the brand new students to others within the school before the educational year officially begins. Returning students are paired with incoming freshmen, with whom they do various activities in an effort to ease their transition into the new environment. As a result of the pandemic however, Drey Land Plus has been canceled, taking away new students’ chances to bond and truly immerse themselves in the JBS environment.

In replacement, the administration has attempted to make up for this loss and welcome the new freshman while still maintaining social distance. One such example is a small orientation with each advisory and another introductory meeting with other new students and their buddies. There were many lengths taken to welcome incoming freshmen into the school. “They have done their best,” said four of the new freshmen; however, making new connections in this current state is a challenge.

This struggle is exacerbated when starting high school online; oftentimes, there are only one or two new students in each Zoom class. Caroline Novak (‘24), a new student who transferred from Visitation Academy, commented on this aspect of online learning, “It would be nice to meet with other new people instead of being the only new person in each class.” It’s especially hard to make connections with teachers and classmates over Zoom, as it’s nothing like the interactive classroom environment. However, many students stated that their teachers have done their best to duplicate a normal classroom setting. Sahara Jordan (‘24) and Isabel Cepeda (‘24) both noted Mr. Salomon, one of the ninth grade geometry teachers, has been entertaining and extremely helpful. The kindness and generosity of Ms. Shimabukoro, the 9th and 10th-grade principal, was frequently mentioned. “She was super nice and understanding, especially when figuring out my schedule,” said Novak.

Although this situation is not ideal, the new freshmen have expressed their enthusiasm towards returning to campus under the hybrid model. They appreciate the administration’s concern for students and faculty, and are grateful for the efforts made to welcome them and their families into the Burroughs environment.