“This is one of the best times that I enjoy during the school year because we get to engage with our 8th grade students who are getting ready to become 9th grade students,” says Mr. Stringfield, the Ninth Grade Director of Student Development at Esperanza Academy High School.
Each year, the Esperanza Academy 8th grade students are excited for High School Exploration Day. It is often their first-time stepping foot into the high school, which will soon become like a second home for them over the next four years. On this day, each 8th grade student is assigned a high school mentor who acts as a tour guide answering questions about the school and taking the younger student with them to their classes.
This year, Esperanza Academy has created a week-long high school exploration program from February 22nd to the 26th. Students completed a virtual tour of the school and have a chance to hear from several teachers and administration about all the opportunities awaiting them. The Academy has also recorded a virtual panel with several high school students. Eighth graders submitted their questions beforehand and the older students did not disappoint. They gave in-depth and compassionate responses about their highs and lows during the past few years and offered advice on how to best navigate these next steps. The week culminated a lunch hour for parents and students to meet and greet various staff members and then a pep rally with fun prizes and a time to celebrate their next step in their academic career.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, support to students becomes even more crucial to make sure they can succeed through the transitions in their academic career.