by Declan Lusk and August Barham
Freshman year–a year as difficult as it is important.
Although freshman year is by no means as difficult a class load as, say, junior year, the social transition along with the new academic expectations make it an extremely challenging one.
Furthermore, while freshman year does not seem to be as critical as junior or senior year academically, it actually sets students up for their entire high school career.
Freshman Year Experience is a club meant to assist freshmen with this paramount year in their new high school careers. This club is led by Brevard High School counselors, Hallie Moore and Courtney Owen, and consists of junior and senior leaders.
Moore explained FYE and its importance in a bit more depth.
“FYE was a program that started about ten years ago, back before I worked here,” Moore said. “Upperclassmen leaders are role models for the upcoming freshman class. Through events such as the retreat, we build relationships and academic skills from the beginning of the year with fun activities.”
FYE held its annual freshman retreat in September.
The retreat aims to assist freshman with a smooth transition into high school and to give them a support group through their high school careers. During the retreat, students and leaders who may have otherwise never known each other are able to meet and connect.
“FYE really bridges the divide between both freshman and leaders,” Moore said.
“While we may all be different and come from different backgrounds, there are always commonalities between us.”
This year’s retreat started once the participating freshman broke off into their assigned “family groups” and headed to the areas or “homes” their FYE leaders had prepared for them. After each family group established some ground rules, boundary breaking began. Boundary breaking was an activity in which family group members honestly answered some casual as well as personal questions so they could clear the air and be more open with each other.
After boundary breaking, the leaders conducted some entertaining games that increased leadership skills and the ability to work cohesively. One such game was pantyhose bowling, in which a tennis ball is placed in the foot of a pair of pantyhose. The player then places the waist of the hose on his head and swings the ball around in order to knock down some water bottles.
Unlike pantyhose bowling, not all retreat day activities were a competition. One of the most popular activities of the day was Stomping out Stereotypes, in which freshmen wrote a stereotype they felt had been attributed to them on a balloon, and then they symbolically stepped on their balloons.
The day’s last activity was an application of all the teamwork, leadership, and communication skills they had learned. All of the participants stood on a tarp and were instructed to flip the tarp over without talking at all.
To conclude the retreat, freshman filled out some quick evaluations. Across the board, all feedback was positive. The students enjoyed the day, the leaders and the activities and thought they really learned something.
“This year’s FYE retreat turned out very well,” said Moore. “The leadership groups were awesome. The day as a whole went smoothly. Unfortunately, freshman participation was a bit smaller this year compared to other years, but overall this year’s retreat was a success.”
Staff, freshman, and group leaders alike conclude that this year’s FYE retreat was a positive experience and has helped many students adjust and fit in in a high school environment.