The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Big Atoms Little Atoms Revitalized

Amelie Trieu
Potential mentors at the county-wide workshop that was held at AHS.

After several years of club dormancy, the Big Atoms, Little Atoms (BALA) program will begin again. BALA is a program intended to help facilitate the transition for eighth graders into high school.

Thanks to the leadership of counselors Rebecca Lockard and Stacie Shaffer, the program has blossomed into a large and united initiative to help smooth eighth graders’ transition into high school.

“Middle-schoolers struggle with the size of the school, number of students – the sheer presence of people,” Shaffer said. “The expectations of the classes, and rules in general.”

With the added pressures in mind, both Lockard and Shaffer realized that a role model was needed to help guide new students through the trials of high school.

Story continues below advertisement

“The vision behind it was to really help our freshmen students adjust and transition to high school,” Lockard said. “[BALA] was one of the best ways we thought they could better relate to.”

Both believe that incoming freshmen could easily relate to those close to their age, as opposed to adult mentors, whom many students may not connect to as easily as peers.
“I think it sounds like a really great way to get eighth graders comfortable with coming to high school,” junior Kelcie Chandler said.

Lockard and Shaffer are looking to start the program with AHS’ feeder middle schools’ (Poe MS and Holmes MS) current eighth grade class.

“We’re hoping to make a connection before the eighth graders come to AHS so they can form a relationship before coming to high school,” Lockard said.

BALA mentors attended an in-school field trip on Jan. 12. Fairfax County held a county-wide meeting to kickstart AHS’ mentoring program.

“We literally started a week ago,” junior Berket Yemaneberhane, a Big Atom, said.“We did training and we talked about how other schools’ mentoring programs worked, and how we could make ourselves better mentors.”
BALA aims to begin pairing students with their mentors and arranging formal meetings (hopefully) during W4 and Atom Time. Both sponsors hope that high school mentors will develop closer relationships with their Little Atoms on their own.

“During my freshman year, I didn’t know what to do, or what extracurricular activities to be involved in,” Yemaneberhane said. “Giving them an opportunity to know what to classes to take and helping them move to high school will be really good and help them to become better high school students.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Christine Tamir, Editorials Editor
This is Christine Tamir's fourth year on the staff of The A-Blast. She is one of the two Editorials editorials for this school year. Besides the newspaper, Christine is an IB Diploma candidate and very involved in AHS extracurricular activities. She is president of Key Club, Executive team member of It's Academic, secretary of Mu Alpha Theta (Math honor society) and a member of many other clubs and honor societies. Outside of school, she works for a non-profit called GIVE (Growth through Inspiration, Volunteering and Education) as an Assistant Manager of a local tutoring center.

Comments (0)

All The A-Blast Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Big Atoms Little Atoms Revitalized