One Step at a Time: Advice from the 9th Grade


Class of 2025 at the end of their 9th grade year. Taken by Mrs. Cuneo.

Adelaide Ellis, Staff Writer

Going from middle school to high school is a big stress in many kids’ lives. The transition is a chance to meet new people and have new freedoms and many more opportunities. But for a lot of students, this change can be overwhelming because there is an added pressure of preparing for the future. The 9th graders and their grade level coordinators (GLCs) at Athens Academy have insight on how to ease the transition. 

“The best thing to do is come in and be your genuine self and don’t worry about graduation, worry about doing your best each and every day,” says Bob Sears, director of student services and 9th grade GLC at Athens Academy. 

Taking it one step at a time can be really beneficial, as well as using your time wisely and focusing on the moment. 

“Definitely use your study halls and get as much work done as you can in class, and don’t slack off,” says Adam Lefkowitz, a rising 10th grader.   

Resilience, adventure, and courage are three common words that  represent what 9th grade is all about. This is a new year where everything has bigger pressure, but you also get to do new and fun things. 

“It takes time to get comfortable with high school and that it definitely will get easier, just give it time,” says Reese Jarrard, rising 10th grader.  

In eighth grade, students did not get as much freedom as they do in high school, which is something that a lot of rising high school students look forward to. 

“You have more freedom over the campus, like for lunch you don’t have to be in one set spot, the teachers give you more freedom, and it’s nice being able to walk around campus in between classes,” Lefkowitz says.

9th grade is a grade full of new opportunities such as sports teams, plays, service projects, dances, and so much more; they all combine to make a memorable start to high school. 

“Life kind of opens up a bit,” says  Nikki Chester, 9th grade GLC. “All of the outside experiences are opportunities for students to compete, learn how to manage their time, deal with pressure and adversity, and find something that they really want to work on.” 

Many students get the privilege of going on fun field trips such as Interim Week and service opportunities such as the Sparrows Nest service project, which helps the grade grow more as a whole and bond. 

“I love that we were able to get something going as a class,” Chester says about the drive. 

Everything that you do in high school makes an impact on who you are going to be in the future. Trust the process, give it time, and be yourself. Just take it one step at a time.