By Crystal Hayduk
A sea of fresh, young faces occupied Chelsea High School (CHS) at Moving Up Day on May 24, replacing the seniors who had finished school the previous day.
The Class of 2023 congregated in the Commons upon their arrival, as members of the high school’s Link Crew (students who mentor freshmen as they transition to high school) and administration began the process of building rapport with the eighth graders.
Once the students assembled in the auditorium, Principal Mike Kapolka repeated important advice that he had received from the previous principal, Ron Mead. “A student’s success is based on the level of involvement outside of the school day,” he said. “You need to get involved in something.”
Kapolka reviewed dozens of options for extracurricular activities, regardless of a student’s current or potential interest – from music groups to athletics and clubs.
Kapolka told the students that during the next four years, they will have many choices of classes, and this is the time to learn responsibility for themselves. “Unlike in middle school, everything you do counts now and goes on your permanent record,” he said.
Eighth graders were divided into seven groups to tour the building with Link Crew as they visited key areas, including English, math, science, social studies, and the counseling office. They also visited the media center where student representatives introduced many of the school clubs.
Math teacher Chris Orlandi echoed Kapolka’s statements that high school grades count. “Beach was practice, but the stakes go up here,” said Orlandi.
Orlandi reviewed the CPM math curriculum. “You work in teams here. More often than not, you’ll be working in teams in the real world. You come in with the attitude that the whole team has to understand the material. We’ll be successful together,” he said.
Other Link Crew members conducted a question-and-answer session. Students wanted to know more about lunch – an important time of day for kids to feed their bodies and nurture their social skills. The high schoolers said the cafeteria’s nacho/taco bar is “very good.”
Several students said that touring the school and hearing from the teachers were helpful in making them feel more comfortable to begin ninth grade, since previously their only experience at the high school had been playing in concerts in the auditorium.
Eighth grader Mary Jordan said, “It was helpful to meet the upperclassmen involved in Link Crew. They gave us valuable information about what day-to-day life will be like at the high school.”