Freshmen adjust to life on The Hill

Sophomores offer advice, share experiences
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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High school can be an intimidating place. New peers, new teachers, new buildings and all new pressures abound. However, some Placer High School freshmen are taking the move in stride. Hugo Lopez, Joey Thomas and Sara Weiler are all 14-year-old students who came from E.V. Cain Middle School. The three students spoke Wednesday about some of their concerns and goals for their first year as high-schoolers. Hugo said socializing is something he is looking forward to, but the change in class schedules from middle school to high school is an adjustment. “It kind of feels exciting to meet new people and new teachers, and it feels weird to have four classes instead of seven,” Hugo said. Sara said she had mixed feelings the moment she walked on campus Wednesday morning. “I was really excited and a little bit anxious, I think,” Sara said. “I was confused, because I didn’t know where any of my classes were, but I was looking forward to just starting high school.” Joey said he felt pretty confident walking onto campus. “I wasn’t too scared of getting trash-canned by any seniors,” Joey said. “I was a little bit excited.” Joey said he already has big plans for his first year of high school, including thinking about his future education and career. “(I want to) get straight A’s and make the basketball team … hopefully figure out what I want to do,” he said. “You have got to start early.” Sara said she would like to accomplish several things during her first year at Placer High. “(I want) to get all A’s definitely, to make the soccer team, and definitely the swim team, and make lots of new friends,” she said. “I’m excited for a really great year.” Hugo said the longer classes at Placer High would definitely be an adjustment. “Since the classes are longer now, it’s going to be harder to keep up with the classes,” he said. “We are not used to having 1½-hour periods.” Joey said prioritizing his time is something he will have to do. “I think it might be a little bit difficult to balance out homework time and my sports,” Joey said. Although all three have heard stories of upperclassmen bullying freshmen, none of them are too concerned. “I think I have already met a lot of upperclassmen from (my) leadership (class), so that helps a lot,” Sara said. “So, I’m not too nervous about it.” Hugo, who is on the freshman football team, said he has already had a lot of interaction with peers in other grades through the football program, so he doesn’t think bullying will be an issue. Brandon Barry, 15, a sophomore at Placer High this year, said he feels differently after one year of high school under his belt. “I’m a little more comfortable around the campus,” Brandon said. “I think that is one of the big things new students struggle with.” Brandon, who is also involved in leadership, said he has some advice for freshmen. “High school is all about knowing your teachers and adapting to them,” he said. “I think that is the main thing.” Brandon mentioned a funny story from his freshman year when he tried to start a freshman chant at the first rally of the year, but no one else joined in. Bullying shouldn’t be a concern for freshmen, Brandon said. “I don’t think they should worry about that at all,” he said. “Placer (students) in the past have hazed freshmen, but not any more.” Brandon said his time-management skills have improved since he was a freshman. “My teachers gave me guidance on how to be more organized,” he said. “I’m dealing with accelerated classes right now, leadership, football and Placer County Youth Commissioner.” Emily Rodgers, 15, a Placer High sophomore, said her first year at high school taught her a lot. “I have noticed that I’m a lot more confident walking around campus, because I know the teachers and I know where to go,” Emily said. “Going through freshman year, I learned there are higher expectations and that you have to get your work done.” Emily said she recommends freshman get involved with planning events at the school. “It’s not only helping the person that is getting involved, it’s helping the school be a better place overall and be more enjoyable for everyone,” she said. Reach Bridget Jones at