The leap from 8th-9th grade can be significant. Newcomers to Ukiah High undergo a massive transition from middle school to high school. To aid incoming Freshmen, UHS decided to start a Freshman Advisory class to help them adapt to high school. The class’s goal is to help incoming first-year students prepare for high school and its upcoming challenges. UHS News reached out to one of the Freshman Advisory teachers, Ms. Jonica Vice, to further understand the class and its goals with students.
Vice described what the class hopes to teach incoming freshmen: “To me, it is an opportunity to learn and practice tools, tips, and strategies and gain resources to become successful. This success is both academic and supports social-emotional well being.” Her goals are to teach new Wildcats all the things juniors and seniors wish they would have known when entering high school. Vice also looks forward to teaching about college and career choices along with life after high school. She emphasized the importance of having students start thinking about colleges early to develop a plan after high school.
Vice theorized as to what inspired Ukiah High to start offering freshman advisory: “UHS recognized the need to have built-in support and go-to folks that can answer questions and make this first year of high school a fresh start and a new, positive chapter.” She believes that the class was started to help guide students through these next four years.
Freshman Izabella Nickerson has Freshman Advisory teacher Matt LaFever who she says is trying to teach us how to get through freshman year without failing a class.”
Another freshman, Aurora Lorentino, was interviewed about their experience with freshman advisory. She described in detail the drug education she has received in the course, such as: “what certain drugs do and what people use drugs for and what happens when you mix certain drugs.” Lorentino also described learning about the stress and anxiety associated with drugs. One of the main things that stuck with Lorentino was lessons on meditation. She says that meditation “helps with your brain and body. There are many ways to do meditation like box breathing, and by doing a relaxing hobby that can help you calm down.”
Freshman Advisory’s main goal is to get students more comfortable as members of Wildcat Nation. Lorentino said that Freshman Advisory has helped her “get comfortable in Ukiah High by letting me get to know counselors better and know that I will have someone to go to if I’m struggling.”
Students who start in a new school often don’t know many people and the resources that their school offers so by introducing incoming freshmen to counselors, it gives them a head start to be successful.