To the editor:
We loved our time at Central Junior High School, including the fact that we spent our freshman year of high school there. Teachers reminded us how important our grades were; we knew we were officially in high school. But we were 14, just starting to figure out who we were, and felt like the world was ours.
In junior high, we went downtown for fun. We went to movies. Our parents picked us up and took us where we needed to go. We had sleepovers.
In high school, the social scene changed dramatically — especially for those of us from junior high schools that were split between the two high schools. Parties (with their associated drugs, alcohol and influence from older students) became more commonplace and cliques dominated the social landscape.
But what does this have to do with academics? Everything. To many high school students, school is a social exercise with academics as a side note (at worst) or as a pathway to college (at best). We make it through; most of us learn quite a lot, but the learning process is social just as much as it is academic.
The cushion of having just one more year to grow up a bit before hanging out with 18-year-olds was wonderful.
As we learned in high school, just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right. We ask that careful consideration be taken before making this change: Is having 14-year-olds through 18-year-olds in the same school the best option?