by Simran V '11

Home Sweet Home? Moving to a New High School

Every year, 8th graders face a decision that will determine the rest of their high school careers. That is whether or not to switch out of BSGE. People switch out of BSGE for multiple reasons. But truth to be told, you don’t “realize how much you like [BSGE] until after you’ve left,” says Thomas Romero-North, 10th grader at BSGE. Thomas took the Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT) when he was in 8th grade and got into Bronx High School of Science. He attended Bronx Science for a couple of weeks and quickly transferred back to BSGE.
His reason for coming back to BSGE: He missed BSGE’s “friendly environment.”
But one student, Anca Dogariou, current 10th grader at Stuyvesant and former BSGEer said that part of the reason she left BSGE was because she “never particularly got along with people here.” Another student who transferred out, 9th grader Aditya Nihalani, currently at Bronx Science said that he “didn’t really like the atmosphere [at BSGE].” So is BSGE really a school full of friendly people?
Honestly, it depends on if you’ve found lots of friends and are comfortable here. You probably have an easier time at BSGE if you have loads of friends and aren’t subject to “loner” status.
Lack of friends, however, may not be the reason some people would want to leave or stay at BSGE. Lots of people have not transferred out of BSGE because their parents forced them to. Arafat Chowdhury, BSGE 10th grader, said that the reason he is still at BSGE is because his parents wanted him to be with his older sister (who graduated last year). If his parents weren’t protective in that sense, he may have transferred out. Another 10th grader, Fiona Clarkson-Farrell says that she is still at BSGE “because [her] mother goes on and on about how the school will help [her] get ahead in life and refuses to let [her] go anywhere else.” The same story probably goes for other BSGE students.
Parental pressure has definitely played a factor in students switching in or out of BSGE. There are the parents who see glory in receiving an IB diploma and the parents who see value in other high schools. There are plenty of other high schools in New York City. Some of these high schools are better than BSGE at some things and vice versa. There are schools, like Stuyvesant (one of the specialized high schools) where “there are more opportunities when it comes to the classes you can take and the colleges you can get into,” says Anca.
Stuyvesant High School was formed in 1904 and BSGE, in 2002. Stuyvesant has over 100 years of history full of traditions, clubs, teams, and actual class choices. BSGE has yet to permanently adopt traditions, fewer classess are offered, and lots of clubs and teams have yet to gain popularity.
Obviously, schools such as Stuyvesant have the upper hand. It is really appealing to students to go and have a “normal high school experience” where lockers are in hallways, teachers don’t know you until you enter their class; you can choose lots of your classes and it is well organized. But one must consider that BSGE hasn’t been running for a century and that it will take time for it to gain stability in those aspects.
BSGE, however, has its own good aspects. Although knowing everyone in the school can get irritating, it is definitely a good thing. You don’t have to worry about being alienated, wherever you are in BSGE. In contrast, in schools with thousands of students, it is impossible to know everyone and be friendly towards each and every person. Students at BSGE can also take advantage of our newness by establishing their own clubs and traditions; this is something many students have done. But it really depends on what type of person you are and what you are looking for from high school.
The bigger, more prominent NYC high schools may offer a greater variety of classes and lots of sports and extra-curricular activities. If you want to specialize in something such as the arts or you want to play for a more established sports program, BSGE may not be the place for you. Alexis Cotton, 8th grader, for example, says she is “planning on switching to an art school, [her] first choice being Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.” She says she is switching out because she would rather go to a school specialized in the arts because “we aren’t given opportunities like that in BSGE.” It is true that if you are looking for opportunity in a specific area of interest, then BSGE may not be your ideal high school.
But smaller schools such as BSGE offer a certain warmth and closeness that are not as intimidating as schools with thousands of students. If you leave BSGE, you will probably miss the students, the environment and maybe even some teachers. Here at BSGE, there is more individual attention because of the small number of students. Teachers, for example make sure that students don’t go out of line and that they keep up their grades. At bigger schools with thousands of different students, one student would never be scrutinized as much by teachers. Also, there’s a better chance of standing out in a small school like ours.
The option of switching out of BSGE is still available for current 8th and 9th graders. But transferring isn’t a necessity. It depends on the type of person you are and the type of school is good for you. There are so many things you must consider before you decide to stay at or leave BSGE. So don’t rush into a decision and think about where you see yourself and what you want to accomplish in high school. But most of all, consider this: Is BSGE your ‘home sweet home’?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s