Jocelyn Martinez ’19
Several of Passaic Valley’s juniors and seniors made the trip to the various middle schools in Totowa, Little Falls, and West Paterson on April 8th, 9th, and 11th, to talk with eighth grade students about student life here at Passaic Valley.
This outreach program, which is organized and operated by the Guidance Department, informs younger students of the culture, community, and programs at Passaic Valley, informing them that PV is a great place to spend their next four years. “I feel that the best representation of the school and the many things we have to offer really comes from the students themselves,” exclaimed Mrs. Vigilante.
This program enables local middle schoolers to learn particular information regarding the academics, activities, sports, and so forth that feels more authentic coming from current high school students, rather than adults. “It gives the students sort of a first-hand view of what to expect throughout the next four years of their lives,” stated Mrs. Vigilante.
It is very important that Passaic Valley is represented for what it stands for, so the Guidance Department makes sure that the high school students who are chosen to visit the middle schools are experts in their field. “We asked all of the counselors to nominate multiple students to talk about the different aspects of high school, such as the academic, social, and athletic elements,” explained Vigilante. Traditionally, the mentors are also asked to make some room in their busy schedules to take a trip over to the middle schools due to their experience with incoming freshmen.
The Totowa-born high school students visited Washington Park Middle School on Monday, April 8th, which was a pleasant and nostalgic experience. “The kids were very receptive of the information and seemed pretty excited about this new change,” mentioned Bianca Dellanno ’19. As Dellanno was assigned to talk about the social aspect of high school, the children learned about everything from easing into life as a freshman and wearing the school IDs to handling their new freedom and getting involved in all available opportunities.
The following day, on Tuesday, April 9th, the high school students from Little Falls took a trip to their middle school, School No. 1.. “The kids were happy to hear that specific classes that interested them were offered at Passaic Valley,” said Thomas Ehrenberg ’19. While Ehrenberg discussed the academic aspect of high school, the kids discovered the work ethic that will be expected of them, the amount of work they will receive, and how to succeed in all of their classes.
Two days later, Passaic Valley students born in Woodland Park were taken to Memorial Middle School on Thursday, April 11th to discuss high school life with the eighth graders. “The middle schoolers reacted with curiosity, positivity, and humor, which I did not expect from kids that age,” Spiro Klimentos ’19 voiced. As Spiro shared his advice with the students about the change in social groups they will experience, the children received some tips about meeting people from Totowa and Little Falls, such as being open to new changes and not being afraid to interact with new people.
“By the end of the session, I felt they were definitely better prepared for the next four years,” commented Ehrenberg.
Of course, the senior students were delighted to reunite with some past teachers as well. This program turned out to be a great success this year; the younger students were left with new, exclusive information about what to expect next year, and the older students got one last chance to reminisce about their childhoods.