Fish Are Friends

Taryn Glover, Assistant Editor

The long term construction project that was known as an obstruction of bricks and wood is finally finished, offering a new learning environment for incoming ninth graders. FM9 is an additional campus that connects to the main campus through the Commons Area. Exclusive to ninth graders, the freshman campus provides new opportunities in an interactive, educational setting. Students are able to to express themselves via writing surfaces that are scattered throughout the multiple ‘collaboration centers’ and a technology friendly environment.

“It’s really cool that we’re the first group of students to get to use the campus,” freshman Sparsha Nanda said. “I feel like it took away some of the typical worries people feel going into high school.”

FM9 principal William Skelton shed some light on the intended benefits of a separate campus for freshmen. He said the faculty at FM9 is completely focused on the freshmen and their transition to high school. They attend their games, concerts, and events in the evening, and provide a smaller, more flexible learning environment during the day for their core classes and electives, such as Spanish, health, and art.

“FM9 offers new technology as well, including 80-inch high definition monitors in every classroom and in many collaboration areas which can be used by students and teachers in connection with eBeams, iPads, or other devices,” Skelton said.

Most freshmen haven’t experienced life as a student at the main campus, so they don’t have the same background at FMHS that everyone else does. Upperclassmen may think that the ninth grade center is “unfairly advantaged”, but to freshmen, it’s just school because they haven’t had anything to compare it to.

“It’s definitely different from middle school,” freshman Casey Kassal said. “It’s really nice and has a lot of new things, but honestly, it’s not ‘all that’ despite what people say.”

He also said that he doesn’t think it made the transition into high school much easier because he still had to worry about higher level classes. Also, as a sociable person, Casey didn’t feel intimidated being mixed in with upperclassmen so the separation from the other grades wasn’t as much a relief to him as it might be to other students.

“I have to go into the main campus for drama first period anyway, ” Casey said. “Going between campuses isn’t as threatening as it may seem and doesn’t take as long as I thought it would.”

The construction projects benefited more than just the freshman class. Upperclassmen are able to enjoy the Commons Area during lunch, which is reserved for them, while all freshmen must eat in the cafeteria at FM9. The recent construction project also includes a new arena, black box theatre, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, and additional parking spaces which have provided some relief to the upperclassmen who drive to school. Still, the freshman campus has made a significant change.

“It’s actually noticeable that there are less people in the school,” sophomore Nicole Cipriano said. “It’s easier to get through the halls and there is more room in the cafeteria at lunch.”