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A Better 9th Grade Experience
Turning the ninth grade year around
Fenn could do a few things to make ninth grade at Fenn more enjoyable. From making senior time more of a group activity and bonding free time and less of a get out of study hall for thirty minutes and do nothing, to making the academic part of school easier to manage.
Fenn is great at giving us free time, but not as great at helping us truly enjoy it. Although the last thing we want at this age is to be told what to do, it would help tremendously if we did a fun activity as a ninth grade during senior time instead of what we do now, which is sitting in one place and not being allowed to be on our phones for half an hour. When you think about it, this doesn’t really sound like an ideal free time for a teenage boy. For example, they could organize one big game of touch football, soccer, kickball, or maybe just have everyone go outside if the weather is good enough. Anything really that would help us bond and not set us up to have enough freedom to get ourselves in trouble.
Fenn could also help out the ninth grade boys with managing there life’s. Student life does a really great job on that already, but that’s only an hour class once every seven school days. We need an optional ungraded class that helps with management. Not just time management, but with homework, sports, and SSAT practice, since most of us are applying out to secondary schools this year. This class would be a great opportunity for us boys to get together and receive help with the struggles we all have. This class could replace a study hall on a certain letter day, it shouldn’t be mandatory but highly recommended, and it should genuinely help everyone who chooses to attend it. This means that although we all have the same general struggles, they’re in different areas of the same thing, so everyone should be satisfied. This class would also obviously be ungraded just like student life, but be an important key to success in ninth grade at Fenn, also just like student life.
With these changes, although a lot to ask for, would help make the ninth grade at Fenn better for boys. This would take a lot of effort and planning which I’m not sure Fenn is actually capable of doing and making it a standing tradition, but I hope they can pull it off.
The first wrong choice I made lead to another, then another, then nothing but hard times followed, picking my entertainment over my priorities was a huge mistake. When I chose enjoyment over homework the first time, it began the hole. Me continuing to make bad decisions dug it deeper. Not realizing how my mistakes would affect me, in the long run, made it inescapable. I’m in my room alone, doing my homework, it’s about 9:00 pm and I’m not even halfway done. I’m getting bored and losing the energy to keep going, after daydreaming for a good while I abruptly double tap, swipe up, and open up YouTube. I’ve already come up with an excuse that I can remind myself of every time I regret making the choice I did. I thought to myself, “I can finish it on the bus ride tomorrow morning,” or “I can do the rest during recess.” I say this to myself knowing that I won’t actually complete it. I arrive at school with my homework incomplete. During class while the teacher is collecting homework I make up and excuse as to why I don’t have it done, he’s generous enough to extend the due date for me and I can receive partial credit for it. Instead of taking this opportunity to my advantage I see it as a free token to do the same thing over again and again. The same thing for every class. My mindset is in the total opposite position it should be in, especially because I’m trying to get into schools and not have to stay for ninth. I think to myself “this is wrong,” but I never genuinely change. It’s easy to know when something’s wrong but harder to do something about it. At the end of this cycle, after I’ve shot myself in the foot too many times to recover, I finish the term without an honors card in my hand and an acceptance letter in my mail. Me not completing my homework on time from the beginning was the first mistake, me not taking advantage of the many second chances and opportunities I received was the second mistake, the big one. It leads to disappointment in me from not only myself but all the people who believed in me, including my family. At the end of the day, everyone has to ask themselves an important question “will this help or hurt me in the future?” Once you truly answer it and fix what’s wrong you are destined to succeed. I just wish I knew this earlier.
There aren’t many places in the world that could at all times be a safe place for you. It takes a lot for a place to do the job of a second home. But everyone has that one place. For me that is the Fenn School. It’s not just a school for me but a place where I could say whatever’s bothering me and have people who can listen. A prime example of that at Fenn is student life. Student life is the one class that’s not graded. In that class we talk about being a boy, being in high school, and living in the current generation were living in. I share stuff I’m not comfortable sharing anywhere else in that class except my family. Not just student life but in the actual classrooms also. The teachers at Fenn genuinely care about their students. For example my math teacher after I finished taking a test late was walking to lunch with me and we started talking about secondary schools and life. He also told me I’m really smart and I had a skill not many kids my age have. Everyone there wants the best for you. A community is different for everyone, for me this Fenn.
One Big Teachable Moment
Add life to your days, not days to your life.
As Hayden Shen enters the cardboard boat that is already falling apart, everyone’s cheering him on and chanting “There’s no icebergs, there’s no icebergs,” since our boat was named the titanic. He has his little helmet on as he’s rowing a cardboard box through the water but going nowhere. Everyone’s laughing while he’s soaked and covered in wet cardboard. Camp Belknap was a fun experience that I enjoyed very much. I even enjoyed it more than Windsor Mountain. Since it was a significantly smaller class than 8th grade it was a better experience for all of us. Belknap was a chance for me to really bond with my peers and make new relationships with kids I never really talked to, which I did end up doing a lot. I learned that just because something is new doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you, I discovered that I needed to become the best version of myself, and I realized that I needed to enjoy my time with my friends.
Just because something is new or foreign to you doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you. I experienced this with building friendships as well as engaging in new activities. The cabins were arranged in random groups rather than advisors, which was better in my opinion because I was able to bond with kids who I wouldn’t regularly bond with. For example my bed was under another kid’s bed who I rarely ever talk too. We didn’t necessarily bond over the course of the Belknap trip but we definitely talked more. Just like talking to someone new, change, or in this case difference, can be hard. Another example of that would be an activity that we did at Belknap, where during which we broke up into four corners based on a series of questions we were asked. Each corner was a different way of expressing leadership. After the activity was over they asked you to move to a corner that expresses leadership in a way you would want to work on expressing it in. I was in the motivated leader quadrant. Before this I never noticed I was a motivator. Now I can use this new information that I found out to my advantage by encouraging people to finish through on something or to attempt something, especially on the sports field.
The camp staff wanted used to know that if you fit into a group at another person’s expense, those aren’t the people you want to hang out with. On the last day right before we loaded the bus to go back to Fenn, the cabin leaders did an ward ceremony. Each cabin leader presented each of their kids with a certificate that awarded them and had a few words that shared positive feedback on the experience they had with us, they explained what they liked about us and gave us advice on being leaders at Fenn. My leader said that I was a constant source of entertainment and he enjoyed having me in his cabin. Presenting us with this certificate was a way to remind us about what we are good at doing so we can continue to do it.
Enjoy the time you have with your peers. Ninth grade is going to eventually come and go and I will never see most of my classmates ever again. It’s something that you gave to cherish because before you know it it will be gone. Belknap is a time dedicated to making memories with your closest friends, but not a lot of time.
All in all Belknap was a good trip and I really enjoyed it. The three takeaways from the trip will stay in the back of my mind and I’ll try to remember them when needed.
Essence of Community | The Power of Place | The Value of Stewardship
It’s early in the morning, everyone’s tired, but just relaxing. Sitting on the soft couches right outside of Star’s office. The topic is fantasy football, everyone’s interested and having a good time. It’s everyone’s high point of the day, and gets them ready for the hard and long day. It’s a nice community in an important place for many people.
The essence of community is important for everyone. It lets one have a sense of belonging and comfortability. The essence of community to me is very important because company and motivation is fuel to my fire. Without it I wouldn’t want to keep going and trying at stuff such as school sports, etc. Without out it I also wouldn’t feel that there’s a point in succeeding. Because although we succeed to satisfy ourselves mainly, satisfying other people is a good feeling, especially when they are proud of u.
The power of place is also very important because your community could be in a place. For example at the Fenn community is a bunch of friends and teachers that motivate me to keep going in school an sports. Some people have places that are important to them. Some have safe spaces where they could share their emotions and feelings freely without being judged. Places could be important to people because of a memory or religious reasons. Someone could’ve lost a family member, and their grave can be an important place for the person to remember old memories with the person. A church for example can be a powerful place. It’s where people go to get saved, give their life to god and worship him. It makes people a better version of themselves.
Stewardship is valuable in different ways. Stewardship is needed to keep a lot of things in tact. Physically and figuratively. Physically things need to be kept up with and taken care of for it to work properly and be used for what’s it supposed to be used for. It could be a lot of work but helps in the long run. Figuratively speaking, stewardship is valuable when it comes to taking care of yourself and other people. Being able to to that is a great skill to have, and will make you successful in life. Being able to take care of yourself means good mental health which is important for everyone to have. Taking care of other people makes you seem like an empathetic, and caring person. It leaves a good impression on you as a person.