High schools aim to prepare frosh | VailDaily.com

High schools aim to prepare frosh

Cindy Ramunno

EAGLE COUNTY – Everyone 15 years old and up knows that feeling. The edgy, anxious twinge that starts in your stomach on that first day of high school. It’s hard to think about math and language arts when your mind is filled with questions to yourself that range from “will I have enough time to get from class to class?” to “which shirt am I going to wear?” Then there are the students who choose to participate in the first sports season, which brings added pressure.Today is the first day of school this year for Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain High School – including those freshmen at a new school. Before today, both schools kicked off the school year with morning programs for incoming freshmen to help them prepare to succeed. During two weeks in August, some students attended morning sessions at their high schools. Battle Mountain Principal Mark Bullock and Eagle Valley Principal Mark Strakbein tailored programs in an aim to fit their students’ needs. Teachers Jessica Heady and Michelle Fisher taught at Battle Mountain, where students started their day with martial arts instructed by Kim and Jason of Inyodo School of Martial Arts. Then, based on Sean Covey’s “7 Habits of Successful Teens,” the students learned study skills and the key components of taking good notes in class. Covey’s book also stresses how teens can make good choices and decisions, thus making them more successful in high school. “We had about 25 incoming freshmen in the program,” says Bullock. Two-hundred freshmen are expected to start at Battle Mountain today, and staff members said they are encouraged that the program will grow each year. At Eagle Valley, about 18 of the 180 incoming freshmen attended their program. Teachers Ron Beard, Ashley Newman and Chris Cessna explained that although the daily agenda was different from Battle Mountain’s, the intended outcome was the same. Those students started the day with character education, and then got familiar with researching and writing papers. The students also took tours of the building, learned high school expectations and reaped the benefits of registering early. School district spokeswoman Pam Boyd says that school officials and parents are excited about the new programs. “We know that one of the key elements for success at school is for the student to feel connected to the school,” says Boyd. “These programs are specifically geared towards connecting with kids.”But even with the schools working to prepare freshmen, kids still express anxiety. Gypsum Creek Middle School graduates Brian Ervin, Erica King and Ashley Rohweder didn’t attend the program, but they say that Gypsum Creek and Eagle Valley High worked hard last spring to prepare incoming freshmen with orientations and other activities. However, there are still those first day jitter’. “I’m hoping it’ll be easier than middle school,” says Ervin, who was more excited about his first high school football season than his classes. Rohweder’s dad teaches at the school, and King’s brother is a senior – and there is some anxiety over that. “I’m so nervous, especially about my dad working there,” says Rohweder. Her father is longtime teacher and coach Randy Rohweder. King hopes her brother and his friends won’t “torture her.” “It’s nerve-racking,” she says with a giggle.Vail Colorado

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