Seniors rock the new school year

As the Class of 2019 prepares for their final school year, incoming freshmen adjust to a brand-new environment at AHS


Senior Alison Scott paints a Class of 2019 motto on a rock in the senior courtyard on Aug. 14.

Kimberly Laura, Co-Editor in Chief

By now, freshman Joscelyn Ventura has found balance when it comes to time management for homework, marching band practice after school and a social life. The halls seem less scary, faces are more familiar, and relationships are growing.

Ventura is one of the many faces in the hallways of a school with more than 2,100 students.

Many first-year students are still adjusting to a new mascot, new responsibilities and a new environment that they will experience for the next four years.

As Ventura enters the second week of her high school career, she notes that it is different than what she had originally imagined.

Compared to Holmes middle school, AHS is much larger in size, and in the first few days, it was difficult for Ventura to navigate where her classes were. Surprisingly enough, there is no significant difference between high school and middle school for her.

“In middle school, they really emphasized that high school is going to be really strict and tougher,” Ventura said. “So far it doesn’t seem that bad. If anything, it’s better than middle school.”

As some students start their high school years, seniors are coming to an end to theirs. On Aug. 14, several seniors came in to contribute to the redecoration of the senior courtyard despite the humidity and hot summer sun.

On one wall, seniors boldly painted their new class slogan, “doing b19 things.” Additionally, seniors freely plastered various, vivid colors on another wall and painted their other slogan, “sl19ght work,” on top.

“Being able to eat at the senior courtyard is significant because it shows in a way how much you have accomplished,” senior Leadership president Vitalina Fuentes said. “The past three years have not been easy for me, and I know it’s the same for a lot of other students.”

During the lunch blocks, seniors have started to indulge in their privilege of eating in the courtyard.

A new feature this year, for both freshman and upperclassmen, is the fifteen-minute break after the first period.

Since freshman year, junior Lee Le has rarely had the time to get breakfast because of the late arrival of their bus.

“Since you’re not allowed to eat on the buses, it’s good to have a designated time for getting food,” Le said.

This new rule, used in AHS years prior, was enacted primarily for bus riders who did not have time to get breakfast before the first period.

“We hope that a lot of students will take advantage of that,” Principal Tim Thomas said. “We expect everyone to get breakfast first and linger later instead of lingering and going to get breakfast and being late to class.”

In coming years, the distribution of breakfast could be extended to other areas of the school other than the cafeteria during the break.

Another new adjustment students and teachers are growing accustomed to is the removal of the trailer quads behind the modular unit.
In total, eight classrooms have been relocated inside the school building, including Spanish and history classes.

Senior Isabella Domeneck has had at least one trailer class every year.

“I didn’t like the trailers because they are inconvenient and it takes too long to get there and leave,” Domeneck said.

Trailer classes may seem like a challenge to reach during cold or hot weather, but the rigorous classes offered at AHS are part of the International Baccalaureate program.

“IB classes provide a student with the opportunity to challenge themselves with college-level material,” IB Coordinator Linda Bradshaw said.

AHS offers a wide range of IB classes from Literature to History, the Sciences and electives such as Visual Arts and Film,

“College admissions counselors love to see IB courses on students’ transcripts because it shows that a student is a critical thinker and is globally minded,” Bradshaw said.

Last year, a total of 46 seniors were IB diploma candidates.

100% of all diploma candidates are enrolled in universities and/or military service.

As of this school year, 48 seniors are striving to graduate with the IB diploma and 50 juniors are enrolled as candidates.

“While we are very proud of those students that embrace the challenge of pursuing the full IB diploma,” Bradshaw said. “Our mission to get every student to take at least one IB course before graduating.”

Regardless of being a candidate, approximately 444 students took 1,101 exams in 31 different subjects last May.

The current largest enrollment of IB students this year is 208 students in IB Business SL.

“I was already enrolled in Honors classes and gradually moving towards IB classes,” senior Bashudha Dhamala, an IB diploma candidate, said. “If I was taking IB classes anyway, I figured, I might as well do the diploma,”

Students can begin to enroll in IB classes their sophomore year. Junior year is when students can begin to take the first part of an IB course that will lead into their senior year.

“Be careful what you pick for your HL and SL classes because you can’t really go back on that decision without any consequences,” Dhamala said.

No matter what classes a student takes, a student must strive to grow as a learner and put all of their effort into each of their classes.

“Teachers don’t just teach content; teachers teach to value learning. If there is one thing I would want people to leave with, is an appreciation for learning,” Thomas said. “That is when an educator is affected, not when they can teach their content, but when they can teach their students to love learning. That’s another level for success.”

All students should treasure these four years of high school.
As this new school year progresses, students are encouraged to get involved, aspire to reach new goals and maintain Atom Pride.