By Kayci Kumashiro (’17) | Junior Staff Writer
Metal lockers line the walls of hallways as they are filled with jovial chatter about summer vacation.
Folders, papers, and pencils, still in their original packaging, are stacked neatly on shelves. It was August 2013, the start of a new school year at HBA, and for 122 students, it was the start of high school.
Tori Ono, a freshman, said, “I was excited yet nervous because being the youngest in the whole school is kind of intimidating.” Ninth grade counselor Jennifer Marshall said, “They [came] from being the top dog on the campus and they [now] feel like the underdog.”[one_third]
“It was hard at first because I was used to middle school [with] teachers helping with everything, but in high school you’re on your own.”
Aimee Clark (’17)[/one_third]
In addition to being the youngest grade in the school, some students faced other challenges academically. “It was hard at first because I was used to middle school [with] teachers helping with everything, but in high school you’re on your own,” said Aimee Clark, a ninth grader who came to HBA this past year. Marshall said, “I think one of the things they say is that the classrooms [and] the hallways are more crowded; they’re not used to that. [There is] certainly more homework. They could potentially have homework in seven classes.” The stakes are also higher because grades now count on transcripts and are taken into account by colleges.
Some ninth graders however, have a different opinion. Connie Huang said, “I expected freshman year to be a terrible case of culture shock. We were transitioning to a brand new campus and the teachers were going to offer us more independence, after all. Transitioning into high school was definitely a breeze for me. For example, while I initially thought that the teachers would be intimidating and unsympathetic, they were always there to offer help when needed. And while I thought that our increased independence was only going to make the experience harder, it actually made me feel more free.”
Along with the challenges that come with ninth grade, there are also new experiences. Starting from freshmen year, students have the opportunity to attend the winter banquet. This year’s theme was “Christmas in the Sand”. Huang said, “I have nothing much to say except it was nice. I liked how you can be equally happy with just attending with a bunch of friends, or with someone that’s really special to you as a date. And the food was delicious.”
“Next year I’m looking forward to a new class council.”
Makenzie Cammack (’17)
Another highlight of freshmen year is the grade level camp at Pu’u Kahea in Waianae. Clark said, “Freshman camp was [memorable] because it brought the whole ninth grade together as a whole.” The camp was unique compared to other grade level camps because there was a reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion and at the campfire, students were given the opportunity to speak their minds and share anything that was troubling them. Ono stated, “When we were sitting around the campfire, saying what we wanted to say and seeing how even though people seem so popular and are too good to talk to, they have, like, a human inside them. They’re still people.”
As the end of the school year draws near, freshmen look forward to the upcoming year as sophomores. “Next year I’m looking forward to a new class council,” said Makenzie Cammack. Marshall said, “As they head into sophomore year, I guess I would hope that they would just continue maintaining that good work ethic and continue to do their best, [and] that they would continue to make school a priority.”
There are many words that can be used to describe a year, but Ono manages to sum it up in a few short words: “It went by really fast.”