Mixed feelings towards high school surface among eighth graders


After three years at Edison Intermediate School (EIS), looming thoughts of high school next September are finally coming to the class of 2026’s minds. These prospective eighth graders are beginning to speak of their excitement, as well as their worries. It is clear that the new school will come with it’s challenges and it’s opportunities – students surely have much more freedom in high school, but this is not what every student wants. In the words of Westfield High School (WHS) principal Mrs. Mary Asfendis, “We encourage a bit more independence in high school, but some students prefer a more structured schedule.”  

Among the wide variety of frets that are arising around EIS, many students are saying that they do not feel prepared for high school. However, this seems to be one of the least of students’ fears. They seem to think that no one feels prepared going into high school, so they shouldn’t worry about it. This sentiment was expressed by eighth grader Manuel Pinto, who explained, “Everyone has to go from middle school to high school eventually, and they always do fine.”

EIS and WHS staff highly recommend putting some time into achieving a smooth transition into high school. Principal Asfendis stated, “I think that just participating in the activities we offer to help students transition to high school is all they need to do.”

Most students are aware that high school is more than twice as hard to manage as any middle school – it’s more than twice the size. Eighth grade history teacher Matthew Varhley emphatically claimed, “Moving up to high school is a very big step – the work students receive is much harder and takes a much longer time to compete.”

It is clear that there are some things students will certainly miss about EIS. Many eighth graders commented on the sheer size of WHS, saying that it will be hard for them to adjust to such a large and loosely-knit community. Manuel, who earlier expressed his confidence going into high school, admitted, “I think the hardest part of high school will be dealing with all the people – the school will be much bigger, more crowded, and I’ll be one of the youngest people there.”

On the other hand, it is important to remember that high school has a lot to offer. Westfield High School houses many sports, such as football, baseball, soccer, and several others – not to mention the school’s  clubs and other programs. Most eighth graders can’t wait to take advantage of these opportunities. For example, eighth grader Brandon Smith mentioned, “I’m looking forward to playing soccer in high school and joining the varsity soccer team.”

In addition, EIS teachers are confident that their students will go on to do fine in high school. They claim that any eighth grader who finds him or herself having difficulty at WHS will receive  assistance. Eighth grade math teacher Mr. Zachary Crutcher explained, “If you ever need help in high school, you just have to ask.” 

Vice Principal at WHS, Mrs. Mabel Hyunh explained how she thinks students can succeed in high school, “Keep an open mind to all learning opportunities, be familiar with the policies and expectations of the high school environment, and ask any questions that may come up or when unsure about something.

In conclusion, although most students have mixed feelings about going to high school, both the staff of EIS and WHS are sure that with a little effort they’ll do fine. Westfield High School’s teachers intend to provide as much help as they can to any student having difficulties, and every eighth grader seems to be looking forward to the new opportunities they will have there. As Mrs. Asfendis proudly stated, “We have excellent academics, excellent sports, excellent clubs, and are willing to support students in any way we can. We do our best to make sure every student’s high school experience is as good as possible.”