Stanton’s ‘bridge class’ helps freshman prepare for high school

Stanton’s ‘bridge class’ helps freshman prepare for high school
In Science Lab, students debate the best way to conduct an experiment. (Photo by Jill Responte)

School was out for the summer, but for incoming freshman at Stanton College Preparatory School, classes were back in session – for a few days, at least.

Stanton’s Bridge Program, which took place during mid-June, was a free three-day event that introduced incoming ninth graders to the campus, future classmates, and the rigorous academic curriculum which ranks Stanton among the top high schools in the country. 

In its fifth year, Stanton Bridge has become so popular with new students it was necessary to expand into two identical sessions to accommodate the demand. The sessions took place in adjacent weeks, right after the school year ended.

“Out of the 490 incoming freshmen, 450 attended the program this year, which is incredible,” said Anthony Paul, Class of 2017 and student head of the program. “The program’s popularity is a testament to the overall positive experience we offer your student.”

Bridge is often such an influential high school experience many of the upperclassmen return to volunteer their time as leaders of the program.

“The level of dedication given by volunteers is tremendous. They are integral in helping to establish the many faces of Stanton,” said Paul. “These volunteers strive to make Stanton one big family, including its newest members.”

The freshmen were assigned to small groups, each led by student group leaders who served as guides and provided invaluable advice to the new high schoolers. Each group followed a packed schedule, visiting classrooms where they were exposed to “sample” classes for a taste of the academics Stanton has to offer. The classes are similar to those the incoming freshmen will take in the fall, including Advanced Placement World History, Theatre and Biology. 

“Going to an AP World History class was helpful in preparation for the school year because we got to see how Advanced Placement classes worked. We also went to art, and I got to see how strenuous the work was in that class, which was surprising. It definitely helped me succeed once the year started,” said Emma Armstrong, Ortega resident, who attended Bridge in 2014.

Incoming freshman Kristen Norton lives in Ortega Forest and attended the first session of Bridge this year. She said she felt much more comfortable about her upcoming entry into high school after her experience at the program. “I definitely feel more prepared, in all aspects, going into my ninth grade year at Stanton,” said Norton. “At Bridge we became familiar with the campus, the teachers, and the general culture of the school. I feel I am more confident, and my transition into ninth grade will be much smoother now that I’ve gone through it.”

Avondale’s John Wright Stanly said he was able to meet classmates and familiarize himself with the campus. “Before Bridge, I was really worried about not knowing where to go and being late to my first classes,” said Stanly. “It was very helpful getting to know my way around, so I hopefully won’t get lost on the first day.

Norton agreed. “Now I feel much more comfortable because I’ll see many familiar faces. I can’t wait to try out for sports and join some of the many clubs. I’m also ready to face new challenges, try new things and, of course, to learn.”

The week ended with a lighthearted “Devil’s Derby,” a group competition named after the school’s mascot, the Blue Devil. “The most fun part of Bridge was the Devil’s Derby,” said Avondale resident Emily Butler, a rising Stanton sophomore who completed the program last summer. “My group leaders were so competitive during the game!”

Butler said she chose Stanton College Prep because of the welcoming atmosphere. “The teachers and students made it enjoyable, and I could see myself going there in the fall,” she said.

“The program’s popularity is a testament to the overall positive experience that we offer your student,” said Paul. “It has become an important milestone in each Stanton student’s experience.”

By Sarah Duggan
Resident Community News

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