On the fated day of March 5th, the majority of the 8th grade became increasingly nervous as the end of the day approached. It didn’t matter which class they had last period, whether it was Living Environment, Art, or Humanities. It was insignificant, because during that last five minutes of class, high school results were given out. People held their breaths as they opened the letter, the one that determined where they were going for the next four years. Many were filled with joy and celebrated with elation because of their acceptances. Several tears were shed over the not-so-satisfying results. Everyone ran around in a frenzy, sharing and exchanging results with any fellow 8th grader they came across.
It’s not unusual for around 20% of each grade to leave for other schools in 8th grade. This year, however, more than 50% of the 8th graders are leaving. Within the past few years, parents and students have become more and more ambitious on the topic of education. It’s common knowledge that it is easier to get accepted into one’s “dream college” if their high school has been known for being academically rigorous for over fifty years, so it’s understandable that many students pick a more widely-known school over BSGE. Unfortunately, this is one of the sad realities of attending this school.
Having started about only 15 years ago, barely anyone recognizes the name “The Baccalaureate School for Global Education,” despite the academics being on par with, if not higher than, specialized high schools across the city. Come on, let’s face it. How many times have we awkwardly mumbled “Uhhh I go to the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, but we just call it BSGE” whenever people ask what school we go to? You would receive a blank face, whereas if you told someone you went to Stuyvesant or Bronx Science, a flash of recognition would pass on their face, followed by comments like “Oh that’s so cool!” and “Wow, you must be very smart then.”
This certainly was a reason why some students may have decided to leave, but it’s not one of the main ones. Some students, especially those who got into Stuyvesant like Andrew Park ‘19 chose to leave because their “dad [parents] said so.” Of course, Andrew also chose to leave because he thought he “works better under stress,” claiming that BSGE is kind of “lenient with everything.” When asked about her opinion on the topic, Cassie Tian ‘19 stated that she chose to go to Bronx Science over BSGE because “BSGE is too small and there aren’t many good [extracurricular] activities. I would rather go to a bigger school with more people.” The lack of clubs and after school activities, and the school size are two of the main complaints from the departing 8th graders at this school.
However, it seems that not every student minds the comparatively low number of after school activities BSGE has. Justin Yip ‘19, a student who chose to stay rather than go to Bronx Science said, “I don’t think the number of clubs are much of a disadvantage at BSGE… Many new ones are forming each year.” Other 8th graders who chose to stay made the decision based on their reluctance to leave friends and the family-like atmosphere at BSGE, the academically-rigorous curriculum at BSGE and the prospect of earning the internationally-recognized IB diploma.
Despite the fact that many friends and groups will be separating and the tears will be shed on the last day of school, there’s an understanding between students on the reasons why one chose to stay or leave. For people who are staying, like Justin, they understand that “people are leaving for bigger reputations and for a greater chance of being successful in the future,” while those that are leaving, like Cassie, acknowledge that people are staying because “some people might just prefer the smaller environment.”
What is important is that BSGE has allowed the entire 8th grade to enjoy two seemingly-short years together, providing them with many fond memories of the crazy things someone may have said or habits that the teachers may have, whether it be Shantanu and Mr. Mehan’s sarcastically witty but subtle insults, Mr. Anderson instruction to say “bleep” whenever an ‘offensive’ word comes up in Of Mice and Men, or Mr. Rajiv’s jokes about him being married to Angelina Jolie. Even though more than half of the 8th grade is leaving for different schools, the events from these past two years will forever be engraved into their memories.