Academy “Boot Camp” Targets Freshmen


Layla Wright and Erika Riedel

New in 2017-2018, freshmen will attend seminars for the first 10 Fridays of academy period. During the seminars, teachers and nominated upperclassmen will follow a predetermined curriculum designed to help with the transition to high school.

“The idea is that we give freshman survival skills to survive and thrive at Campolindo,” said social studies teacher Matthew Bostick. “[The seminars] give an opportunity for freshman to be in a relaxed setting, where they can meet new people both freshman and upperclassmen, and ask questions that they can’t ask elsewhere, and hopefully feel more comfortable and feel like they have more connections at this school.”

However, others believe the seminars are neither effective nor necessary. “This is a waste of time because we could be doing other stuff in the academy period that would benefit us more than freshmen seminars,” said freshman Jocelyn Poon. “I think freshmen can figure things out by themselves and have a fun time doing it. [One thing they could add is] talking more about what the school has to offer.”

“They should have the seminar, but I personally don’t need it,” added freshman Maddie Abbot. “I think [the seminar] is fine the way it is.”

These seminars affect more than just the freshmen. A number of upperclassmen will assist during the academy periods. Their main goal is to help teachers and give additional advice to the freshmen. “I know from gaging the reaction from the freshman, they probably found that the most valuable thing from the upperclassmen was to hear their thoughts,” said Bostick. “I’m excited for that part of the freshman seminar to have that opportunity for those upperclassmen to be friendly faces on the campus, maybe a little bit of a mentor for some cases, and just a resource for the freshman.”

Senior Conor Ogro was one such upperclassmen selected to help Bostick. “The goal is to have the freshman look up to us, just to have a familiar face on campus. I think it’s a good thing to have, it could have been a good thing for us to have,” said Ogro.

“Upperclassmen didn’t really talk much about their experiences but they gave some pretty good advice …  they told us to get involved,” said Poon.

“[The upperclassmen’s] willingness to just sit down and introduce themselves and share things like what they hope to do after college, and how they like to take care of themselves physically and mentally is helpful. It just gives a very relevant and real perspective for the freshman,” added Bostick.

The freshman seminars were planned collaboratively by teachers from each district school site. “We picked topics and then actually planned lessons for each of those topics. So the very first week, last week, was a sort of get to know you week and opportunity for freshman to reflect on who they are and what they want to get out of their Campo experience,” said Bostick “Next week is all about communication, and communicating mostly with teachers. It’s stuff that I think by the time you’re a junior or a senior you take for granted and you know what to do, but simple things like ‘If I’m absent when’s the best time you approach a teacher and give make up work?’, or ‘If for some reason I’m going to be late with my homework, how should I handle that?'”

“[One important thing is] knowing more and more people, getting to know other freshman who aren’t just in their classes. Overall, I think it’s a good change and it’s going to be beneficial,” said Ogro.