Sutton Students Make Adjustments to High School Life

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Sutton Students Make Adjustments to High School Life

Students, especially freshman, are still transitioning from Sutton to NAHS.

Students, especially freshman, are still transitioning from Sutton to NAHS.

Sara Beth Cimowsky

Students, especially freshman, are still transitioning from Sutton to NAHS.

Sara Beth Cimowsky

Sara Beth Cimowsky

Students, especially freshman, are still transitioning from Sutton to NAHS.

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Everybody knows that middle school is three years full of awkward people, strange encounters and lots of uncomfortable situations. This year, North Atlanta freshmen escaped those most awkward years of life and passed them onto down-the-road Sutton students.

A freshman year here, then, gives all of them cause to reflect: What are the differences between the rules, environments and overall experiences of Sutton Middle School versus North Atlanta High School?

Just a year ago at this time, hundreds of members of the North Atlanta Class of 2020 were Sutton Cougars. Those now here among the 11-stories say they are amazed with the amount of freedom that they receive in the high school building. “You get so many more privileges in high school,” said freshman Molly Harrigan.

The differences between the two immediately stood out to building new-comers on the first day of school in August. In the Sutton cafeteria, students had to sit with the same class every day at lunch. At North Atlanta, freshmen revel in the “luxury” of sitting wherever they want – and with whomever they want. At Sutton, backpacks had to be kept in lockers and students were forced to lug around their book and class materials. For all interviewed students, the transition from middle school to high school has been both liberating and exciting. “I like North Atlanta so much better because of the atmosphere and the overall strong school spirit,” said freshman Lily Mason.

When students consider this daunting, yet thrilling change, they think of gaining freedom, but at the same time, receiving more responsibility. Freshmen have to adapt to the dramatic differences that a high school workload brings. Classes here involve more homework, teachers expect more, and classes like AP Human Geography transform formerly happy-go-lucky eighth graders into freshman insomniacs. Newly beleaguered members of the Class of 2020 must accustom themselves to a daily grind that runs along these lines: work, eat, sleep, repeat.

The contrast in phone policies between the schools is noteworthy. At Sutton, the use of phones was strictly forbidden. That meant no phones in the halls or in class. In contrast, North Atlanta students can use their phones in the hall and many teachers integrate the use of phones into their classroom instruction. “In high school, we can actually have our phones out without getting them taken away, so that’s pretty nice,” said Mason. “The only downside is that I waste way more data.”

The disciplinary actions are “more chill” according to Harrigan, noting that she thinks high school has more flexible, relaxed rules. Gone are the not-so-fondly recalled days of “silent lunch,” the rough and tumble mayhem of designated five-minute-long locker breaks, and forced sitting time in the gym in the morning before classes were dismissed into first period. “The forced locker break was the worst thing ever,” said freshman Lenox Johnson, who recalled the time the entire contents of a book bag were dropped on her head by a discourteous or clumsy locker neighbor above her.

No matter what middle school attended and what high school you enter, becoming a freshman will always come with a mixture of thrilling and intimidating feelings. But for those who came from Sutton, it’s been pure feelings of liberation since trading the constraints of middle school for the comparative freedoms of North Atlanta.

So upperclassmen, reflect on your Sutton days the next time you say North Atlanta is too limiting!

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