Characterizations of each grade

Rachel Chistyakov

Voices Editor

As I walk onto the second story balcony at the beginning of my free period, I see a group of senior boys doing handstands on top of skateboards. I see another student lying on a table, half asleep. In another corner, a group of girls are taking pictures on Photo Booth for Facebook. When I walk into the library, I see a dozen students enrolled in the twelfth grade integrated course furiously analyzing Jane Eyre while striving to relate the book to the Jewish concept of tzimtzum. Another group of seniors in AP Physics review for their upcoming test (which they did not know about until last class).

This is my senior year so far.

When I finished junior year, I was excited to receive the freedom and authority that comes with being a senior. I was expecting a year filled with exhilarating events and grade spirit that would drive us through the school year. Many of us had high expectations for the year, and most people will agree that these expectations have not been met. Many would agree that, so far, the senior class has been very mellow during the school week. The crazy, spirited grade that I had envisioned has not yet materialized, and many are disappointed with the current senior grade. But, in reality, there is not much that can be expected from seniors who are still working to secure a successful future.

Contrary to popular belief, senior grades, both first semester and second semester, matter. Almost every college will ask to see first quarter or first semester grades, and all universities require accepted students to send their second semester transcripts. Slacking off is not an option for any senior, not just those at Milken.

And our hard work has started to pay off: Many seniors have already received acceptance letters from various universities and others have decided where they want to spend their next four years studying. Had we ditched our classes or planned extremely extravagant performances for the entire school to observe, this would not have been accomplished. Yes, the seniors are expected to entertain the school, but many people forget that a majority of our grade is enrolled in very rigorous classes that require hours of studying and work. The juniors will find out how difficult senior year can be in a few months time, while the sophomores and freshmen still have some time to go.

On another note, it is somewhat foolish to give each grade a characteristic that they are expected to constantly live by. To characterize the seniors as “entertaining,” “crazy” or “wild” will surely result in disappointment because, clearly, we are not that wild this semester. Characterizing junior year as extremely painful and filled with work is also a bad decision. Not all juniors necessarily feel stressed or overworked, and some might find junior year to be a breeze. To characterize sophomore year as fun and influential is also not true. Not all of the sophomores are going down the same path as each other and thus will each have different experiences – those who participate in the Tiferet Israel Fellowship program might find that their sophomore year will stand out more than any other year in high school, while those who choose to stay at Milken will view their year as equal to all other school years. Characterizing freshman year as nerve-wracking and intimidating is also false. Personally, my freshman year was not as scary as I had expected it to be.

In short, no grade will fit a certain mold. This year’s seniors are different from last year’s seniors. While many people expect us to have constant theme days and play music throughout every school day, they must realize that our goal is not to entertain the entire school. Once second semester comes around, the goals of the senior class may change completely, as for every other grade.

Featured image by Zoe Lewin ’12.