New teachers, new classrooms, new classmates and new experiences — the first year of high school can be an exciting time, but also a time of great uncertainty.
The CJ senior capstone group of Staci Greene, Madeline Slaybaugh, Juliana Yoss and Samantha Zajac set out to help local eighth-grade students prepare for the many challenges of high school. The group produced a video about making the transition to high school and used it as part of a presentation to eighth-grade classes at Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Albert the Great, and St. Christopher Schools.
“My group came up with the idea of the video by thinking about our own eighth grade year and how most of our advice was from our teachers and any siblings we had in high school,” Yoss said. “The goal of the video was to enable the eighth graders to hear advice from people who were already in high school.”
The group knew it was important to offer multiple perspectives so they surveyed and spoke to a wide variety of CJ students in all grades to help give the eighth graders a comprehensive firsthand perspective.
“It was also one of our goals to show eighth grade students that when they go into high school at first it can be scary but, as time goes on, they will be alright,” Yoss said.
The group didn’t limit the input to students.
“We also wanted to include teachers to give students a look of who they will be taught by and to get a teacher’s view of things,” Zajac said.
From creating questions and surveying faculty and students to producing the actual video, the process was time consuming but the final result — all three and a half minutes of it — was incredibly rewarding. The group was on hand in each of the schools as the video was presented to close to 100 total students.
“We put a lot of work into this project, trying to make it fun, engaging, and impactful for the students,” Greene said. “We received such great feedback from them.”
They also had the opportunity to interact with and engage the eighth graders during the presentation. And whether those eighth graders become Eagles or not, they will go into high school with a bit more knowledge and confidence as a result of the Capstone project.
“We truly surprised ourselves about what a difference we were making,” Greene said. “We believe the activities we had the eighth graders do and the video we showed helped them understand that they are never alone no matter what challenges high school brings.
We met our ultimate goal which was to make a difference in these eighth graders lives and teach them something to take into high school.”