By KATHLEEN ZHOU ’21
The transition from middle school to high school can be hard to bear—not just for students, but for parents as well. As one the most defining chapters of life, in essence the transition from a kid to an adult, high school tends to present itself as a confusing and vague place to parents and children alike.
To assuage these fears, on February 11, the Counseling Department and Administration organized their annual Eighth Grade Parent Night at Edison High, a night designed to introduce eighth grade parents to this journey and to clarify high school requirements.
The night was split into two parts to help parents acclimate and adjust, with the first half being an introduction to the school by Principal Charles Ross. “[Edison High] is a feeling of coming home, of safety, and of love for the children,” Supervisor of Guidance Diane Braungard-Galayda added. Afterwards, Dr. Braungard introduced the parents to the academic portion of school, discussing credits required for graduation, the counseling resources available, and so on.
For the second part of the night, parents were split into two groups: one was sent to the auditorium, and the other to the big gym to explore the activities fair before switching places. In the auditorium, supervisors gave their presentations on grouping procedures—the expectations and requirements a student needs to fulfill in order to move up a level in their classes.
Meanwhile, the activities fair in the gym showcased Edison High’s numerous electives and extracurricular clubs. All around the big gym were tables set up for clubs and electives to prepare their presentations. As parents circled around the gym, students passed out flyers and interacted with curious parents and children alike, transforming the gym into a loud and bustling center of excited activity.
In fact, this year was the first year the night was organized this way, revealed Assistant Principal Nicole Kesselman. Previously, the night would open with Principal Ross and the supervisor presentations and close with tours of the school. However, several problems emerged with this model. “The groups were too large and would cover maybe three or four locations out of seven or so and some parents wouldn’t be able to hear; besides, if their children aren’t interested in auto shop, then there’s no reason to view the auto workshop,” Mrs. Kesselman explained. With this new development of independent exploration of activities, the administration hoped parents and students could explore their own interests as opposed to pre-planned tours.
While the event was primarily aimed towards parents, students were allowed to come and explore as well. “I found [the night] really helpful,” remarked Zara Athir ’24, a student attending Herbert Hoover Middle School, “since it really helped me narrow down my electives.” Meanwhile, speaking of the school environment itself, eighth grader Zach Sargent ’24 noted just “how helpful and resourceful people can be.”
As for parents themselves, they found many merits in the night as well. In particular, as eighth grade parent Yogesh Pandey remarked, “I loved interacting with the kids doing all of these clubs. It’s been quite helpful, the way that they present the information.” Nataoy Contreras, a mother who moved into Edison only three years ago, praised the collaboration of the event. “It’s nice to see the community come together,” she said.
Generally, however, parents and students alike commented on the congestion of the school and the slight disorganization in the movement of people. “If it was a smaller but more focused approach, I think it would really help the parents absorb the information better,” Pandey suggested. Many other students also observed that the volume of the gym kept them from properly interacting with the club fair as well.
Ultimately, however, the experience of the Eighth Grade Parent night translated to a single question: how do you feel about change? While some parents like Contreras felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of activities Edison High offers, many others saw high school as a wonderful opportunity for their children. As eighth grader Hannah Shaikh ’24 remarks, “I was a little more anxious after seeing all these differences from middle school, but change can be a good thing nonetheless!”
In the end, while there were some criticisms, the Eighth Grade Parent Night was generally successful in introducing both parents and children to the high school. Just as Mrs. Kesselman puts it, “Edison High is really a place with all the opportunity in the world. Just take advantage of it, and you’ll have the strong foundation you need to succeed!”
Here’s to the incoming Eagles!