Around one hundred parents and sixth graders packed into BSGE’s cafeteria and hallways for the 7th grade Open House. They were all milling around in anticipation for the evening event to begin. The event, which started at 6:00 pm on December 6, 2016 and ended at 7:30 pm, was an opportunity for parents and students to learn more about BSGE and determine whether this was the right school for them. Although the event started at 6, many parents started flooding in through the front doors as early as 5:30 pm. So many people came that the parents had to be divided into two groups. One group took self-guided tours through the second to fourth floors while the second was downstairs in the cafegymatorium for a presentation run by guidance counselor Tim David-Lang, a few student speakers, math teacher Mr. Mehan, and history teacher Mr. Rabinowitz. The presentation talked about the curriculum at BSGE, the atmosphere, and the differences between BSGE and other schools.
Not only were there a lot of visitors that night, there were also many volunteers. Approximately 30 students in all volunteered in order to make this night memorable for the parents and children visiting. These volunteers were placed strategically at different intervals along the school corridors. Sets of five were stationed near the main lobby, the cafegymatorium, and the hallways on each floor. One or two teachers were also stationed on each floor to answer any questions about the school that students wouldn’t be able to.
Although the night went smoothly and there weren’t many complications, at times hallways got extremely crowded. When the second group of parents and students went upstairs for their self-guided tours, the second floor became so crowded that it took several minutes to get from one staircase to another. It didn’t help that groups of parents were stopping near students and teachers to hear the answers to questions that another parent had asked a moment before.
The visitors’ urge to learn as much as possible about BSGE led to many questions about the process to get into the school. Many asked questions on the content of the test as well as what could happen in the interview. Others broached into topics such as what BSGE was looking for in students and the mentality needed to academically survive in BSGE. In fact, one parent commented that, “you need to be able to think and understand rather than let knowledge be shoved down your throats” in BSGE. Other questions that parents and 6th graders asked tended to be about the life of a BSGE student, to which volunteers told about homework, extracurriculars, lockers, and the downsides of the small school building with fluctuating temperatures.
Despite the flaws that BSGE presented, the environment students find themselves in is one that will ultimately help them succeed in the future. In BSGE, though students may be in the midst of a strenuous learning environment, it is an environment where friends help and support each other. One parent volunteer noted that, “BSGE believes that success is something that is achieved as a community because the real world is not based off of multiple choice tests but rather cooperation.” In addition, BSGE is like a big family. People are able to connect with each other regardless of age or grade. All of these features contribute to the school we know as BSGE, and hopefully these ideas that we hold so dear to our identities as students are ones that were delivered to the visitors.