First day filled with mixed emotions

The Class of 2023 takes the plunge into school life at Mac


Tomas Marrero

Meliah Arias [left] said that her goal for the first few days of school was to put her head down and get to work, whether it be on the court for volleyball or in the classroom. “I hope to get all my four years finished, do well in all my classes and graduate,” Arias said, “I wasn’t nervous at all [the first day], I had friends in every single class, so that was good.” Barret Andrews [middle] moved from Lamar to Kealing Middle School in seventh grade. He said the transition to high school has been positive, creating new learning opportunities. “My middle school experience wasn’t very eventful, I’m hoping in high school I’ll have a lot more things going on. Before it was just go to school then go home, that’s it.” Freshman Stephanie Sanchez [right] talks about her cheerleading experience so far at McCallum. With football season in full swing, she hasn’t had much free time. “Taco Shack was fun,” Sanchez said, “but it was hot, and we were up at 3 a.m. for the decorating, and we didn’t get home until about 1 a.m., so I was tired.” Photos by Tomas Marrero.

Tomas Marrero, staff reporter

Most every student can remember their first day, filled with a mix of nerves and excitement. The class of 2023 experienced their first day at McCallum on Aug. 20. While those who came before them probably would like to forget that they even had a freshman year altogether, the mixed emotions of that first day make it one that most high school students will always remember. This uneasy, nerve-wracking stressful but also wonderful day also provides a glimpse into the rest of your days in high school. To best encapsulate this feeling, one must go directly to those who recently survived it: the Class of 2023.

The first day of school I got lost everywhere. The hallways are a lot more crowded than they were in middle school, so it’s hard getting around. Some people walk so slow”

— Meliah Arias

Freshman Stephanie Sanchez had this to say about her first day: “I expected there to be not as many people as there are. I was just rolling with it, I was just trying to find my classes.”
Another freshman, Meliah Arias, agreed that the hallways were hard to navigate on the first day.

“It was confusing,” she said. “The first day of school I got lost everywhere. The hallways are a lot more crowded than they were in middle school, so it’s hard getting around. Some people walk so slow.”

While seeing so many unfamiliar faces in the hallway can be a strange and sometimes intimidating feeling, many freshmen also reported feeling a great sense of optimism for the first year of high school and beyond.

Barret Andrews, a Fine Arts Academy freshman, said that his classes afforded him opportunities he did not have as a middle school student.

“I really like my electives,” Andrews said. “I really like how I’m able to do a lot of things I couldn’t before. I wasn’t able to take a printmaking class, which is the class I’m in now. I’m really into technical theatre, and I’m able to take a legitimate class for that. Currently, I’m on the crew for Jekyll and Hyde.”

Mac upperclassmen and teachers often recommend that freshmen get involved in campus activities because it is a good way to for ninth-graders to thrive in their new environment. Getting involved in clubs, teams, organizations and extracurriculars allows freshmen to meet new people, make new friends and work together toward something the group finds important. It allows students to feel at home and enriches their high school experience.

I really like my electives, I like how I’m able to do a lot of things I couldn’t before”

— Barret Andrews

Like Andrews, Arias also found herself involved in many school activities right away. Her passion is volleyball, and she has been on a team since her days at the small private school she attended before coming to Mac. Sanchez said she too is enjoying getting involved on campus. “I was most excited for cheer,” Sanchez said, “I went to Kealing and I did cheer there, and I plan to do cheer all four years here.”

While involvement in activities is important, so is selecting the right core classes. Pre-Advanced Placement classes can put students on track toward receiving college credit and look good on future college applications but can also add a lot of work and saddle freshmen with low grade point averages or even academic probation for students in the Fine Arts Academy.

Sanchez decided to take all Pre-AP classes, a decision she credits to her father. Arias meanwhile decided against AP classes.

“I was gonna take Pre-AP classes, but I was afraid they’d be too hard and stressful for me, with a lot of homework,” Arias said. “I have volleyball all the time. I probably wouldn’t be able to do all the homework anyways. That’s one of the reasons I chose regulars.

The transition to high school, a culmination of harder classes, more extracurriculars and more expectations can create anxiety. Andrews, however, said the transition has been pretty smooth.

“[The transition] has been pretty easy. Obviously it’s the second week of school, so nothing’s been super intense. The classes have been mediocre; there’s a lot more expectations.”

And therein lies the essence of high school: stepping up the responsibilities of trying to prepare for life as an adult.

Beyond the first day, with all its nervous excitement and anxiety, lies the most important part of this story: people. A new generation coming into McCallum, looking to make their mark for the next four years and leave a legacy that will long be remembered.