This year, two-thirds of the eighth graders in BSGE will be leaving for other high schools. Since October, more than 20,000 eighth grade students from all over the city were anxiously waiting to hear if they had gained admission into 1 of the 9 glorified specialized high schools in New York City either through a performing arts audition or through the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test). Those schools include LaGuardia, Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, Lehman, and others. During the high school application process, thousands of eighth graders not only take the SHSAT, but start applying to non-specialized schools as well.
BSGE, which offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in eleventh and twelfth grade, guarantees all current eighth graders a spot to stay for high school as long as it’s listed on their high school application as their first choice. While many students decide to stay in BSGE, other students decided to attend other high schools in the fall.
This year, more than half of the 80 eighth grade students in BSGE have decided to leave for other high schools. After conducting a survey, it was discovered that only 27 of the 80 eighth grade students have decided to stay. Of those students who are leaving, 15 are going to Stuyvesant High School, 16 to the Bronx High School of Science, 5 to Townsend Harris High School, 5 to Brooklyn Technical High School, 3 to the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, 2 to the Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, and 7 to other miscellaneous schools. As a result, BSGE will aim to fill the spots in the Class of 2020 with a significant number of new 9th graders next year.
Eighth graders shared their thoughts on making the big decision. “BSGE, with its small size and limited opportunities, remains a nurturing environment that has positively impacted my middle school experience,” said Annelie Hyatt ’20. “However, in order to mature as a person, I believe that a bigger and well-funded school is essential.” Others agree that the limited choice of classes and activities at BSGE is a downside to staying for high school. Some students simply choose to leave to focus on certain subjects they’re passionate about that BSGE does not offer. “I want to become a doctor, and Brooklyn Tech offers many medical courses,” said Khalid El-Halabi ‘20.
Although some students feel they’d excel in a larger school like Stuyvesant, others prefer the unique atmosphere that BSGE fosters. “I chose to stay because BSGE is already a pretty good school, and I feel like the community is really tight-knit, which is something other schools may not have,” shared an anonymous eighth grader. “I also prefer the support from teachers here.” Some look forward to entering the rigorous IB program in high school. “It’s sad to watch so many people leave, but I think that compared to bigger schools, the teachers here really can acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses not only as a student, but as a person,” said Rashmika Batra ‘20.
Ultimately, regardless of where you go for high school, it’s the opportunities you take and the experiences you have that count. Although many will be parting ways, all agree they will cherish the memories made here. We remain hopeful that in the future, more students will decide to stay at BSGE. But for now, we wish the best to everyone staying and leaving. This is just the beginning.