On Monday and Tuesday, McDowell High School hosted eighth-graders from East and West McDowell Middle schools. Eighth-graders were greeted by CTE students ready to make everyone feel welcome. Each day opened with Freshman Academy Assistant Principal Jennifer Croymans sharing sage advice from the seniors.

Everyone's favorite piece of advice?

"Take your school picture seriously because it will be around for years," Croymans said to the students.

She introduced ninth-grade counselor Glenda Glenn, who expressed her excitement about meeting each of the students and working with them to make their high school experience amazing.

Her enthusiasm was echoed by Barry McPeters, whose EMT class was visited several times throughout the morning.

“It was exciting to see the young faces and the future of McDowell High School walking through our school," McPeters said.

Several high school students spoke about a wide range of topics including athletics, grades, CTE courses, JROTC and Peer Group Connection. They all expressed the importance of balancing grades and activities, getting involved and working with teachers, counselors and administrators to be successful.

Next, the middle schoolers visited actual classrooms and spoke to teachers and students. Eighth graders toured the whole school to get a look at what is offered. They even experienced the halls during class changes, and signed up for driver’s education.

Hayden Castle and Jacob Anderson, both from EMMS, were excited about seeing the gym and the career classes. They both agreed that being shown around and told what to expect at the high school was a huge help.

Zhanya Fowler was just relieved to know most of her classes would be in the Freshman Academy since her biggest concern was about crowding in the hallways.

Prior to returning to the middle school, each group enjoyed lunch in the cafeteria, learned about the lunch lines and spoke with upperclassmen about their experience.

This is just one way MHS hopes to ease the transition from middle school to high school. Teacher Daniel Smith commented:

"It gets students excited about being a Titan. They are looking and listening and soaking up what the high school is, and forming their first impressions," said teacher Daniel Smith.

The high school tour guides were also quick to chime in on the benefits of eight graders visiting the high school.

Carla Kiser spoke on the practical reasons, "This will help the new freshmen not be so nervous when they get here. They'll know the campus better and know what opportunities are available."

Of course, no visit would be complete without the advice of current freshmen.

"Be yourself. Don't allow people to change you. Don't stress and just have fun," said ninth-grader Emma Vaughn.

"Don't worry about bullying. None of the students here will push you out of the way in the hallway during class changes. People are respectful that way," said Taylor Morgan.

The Freshman Academy will host a rising ninth grade student-parent night on Monday at 5:30 in the commons area of McDowell High School.

This is a night with a lot of great information and will help parents and students understand what to expect. If you have any questions concerning the rising ninth grade night, please contact Jennifer Croymans at 652-7920.

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