Public school students spend a lot of time working to get into their high school of choice — but once they get there, the transition can also be difficult.
Some high schoolers are trying to make it a little easier with a new outreach organization.
On a recent Friday, a classroom full of middle schoolers were getting a sneak peek at the high school experience — hearing about what it’s like to attend sought-after schools like Townsend Harris, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech directly from teenagers living it.
What You Need To Know
- High schoolers from some of the city's most sought-after schools have launched a new program called Aspire Outreach
- It helps students decide what high school might be right for them — and hopes to make their transition easier by explaining what high school is really like
- Founders say if students don't get into their top choice, they want to give them the knowledge to have a great experience at any high school
“We know the jokes they talk about, we know the memes they always are talking about. So definitely we talk to them like they're adults — like they're students, like friends, and we try to share the inside secrets about our schools,” Yukun Chen, a junior at Brooklyn Tech, said.
Chen is one of the leaders of a new program called Aspire Outreach, which was started by high schoolers to help middle schoolers choose the right school, and acclimate well once they get there.
“Being able to help them smoothly transition, and definitely help them get to the high school they deserve and they really want to get into it — and even if they don't get into the best high school in their opinion, letting them understand that any high school they go to is a great high school — definitely is very rewarding,” Chen said.
They give students presentations on topics like the kinds of clubs, teams and activities available at their high schools.
"We want to provide something that maybe teachers or like representatives of schools, or like your aunt that went to the school like 20 years ago, can't tell you -- because we're still here,” Sophia Shi, a junior at Townsend Harris, which has been hosting the meetings, said.
The high schoolers say they remember their own difficult transition from middle school, and they try to prepare the younger students for how much bigger the workload and the pressure can be.
“They're kind of surprised,” David Son, a junior at Bronx Science, said. “Like I really explained to them like, ‘Oh, so the coursework is a lot heavier. Sometimes I get five hours of sleep. And it's probably not like that in middle school.’ In middle school, I got like nine hours every day.”
Conner, a seventh grader interested in attending Townsend Harris, says the meetings and newsletters the group puts out have been helpful.
“I know what to expect, the routine, and the classes that I'll have, the different cultures, languages and other stuff that I'll be exposed to,” Conner Ruiz, a seventh grader at MS 74, said.
The program is open to students from any middle school. The monthly meetings are currently in Queens.
The students hope to expand to having an aspire hub in every borough so they can reach more students across the city.