Instilling Patriot Pride

Bob Jones opened its doors to swarms of eighth-graders for the first time in two years yesterday, welcoming the droves of rising freshmen to tour the school and introduce them to some of the elective paths Bob Jones offers. The eighth-graders were divided into two groups, a Blue Group (in the gym) and a Red Group (in the auditorium), and given separate schedules after watching a mini-pep rally performed by our band and competition cheer.

For the gym group, the school hosted tables for the World Languages, Teaching Academy, Medical Academy, Fashion, Culinary, Child Development, Engineering, Computer Science/Cybersecurity, AFJROTC, and Multimedia Design/Publications electives. The tables offered activities for the eighth-graders, including bracelets from the Fashion Academy, candy from the Medical Academy, and an interesting “Simon-says” style game from the Teaching Academy. The Blue Group also got to see a performance from the Dance team, Competition Cheer team, and a Varsity Guard show.

Sophie Spitzmiller, a fashion student, recounted her experience from the event. “It was fun talking to all the upcoming freshmen about what they can learn about the fashion academy, and about how high school isn’t as difficult as it seems to be.”

In the auditorium, after a performance from AFJROTC and a rendition of the National Anthem, as well as a performance from Jazz Band, Red Group listened to several representatives of the electives speak about their respective courses. Finally, they were serenaded by our Patriot Singers (chorus).

“Different representatives from the many departments in our school such as multimedia, engineering, teaching, world language, and more spoke, letting the rising freshmen not only learn about what our electives and academies have to offer but also extracurricular activities that appeal to their interests,” said Emily Duong, one of the speakers in the auditorium representing Multimedia Publications.

Finally, the groups were reunited in the auditorium to watch a performance of Lies About High School, performed by the advanced theater students. A student who saw the performance said that the play was entertaining, especially because of the updates and changes that had been made to the script to keep it fresh.

If you’re a student at Bob Jones, you probably know this already and may have even been involved with the organization of the event. Now, some of you might be wondering what the point of all of this chaos has been, and as fun as it is to make fun of hapless eighth-graders, there is a good reason behind it.

Bob Jones offers many electives and specialized courses, quite a few more than many schools in the area. They provide amazing opportunities for students to explore potential career paths and their interests, but they are not always guaranteed to be offered. Patriot Pride is a great way to generate interest in some of Bob Jones’ smaller courses that might not be offered if not enough students sign up for them.

For instance, world languages are notorious for having small upper-level classes. French 4 and AP French are combined into one class and only one block of it is offered a year. Mrs. Mooney, one of the French teachers, said about Patriot Pride, “Well, as teachers, we need students to keep our programs going and therefore keep our jobs. Since world language classes are sequential and build off each other, we have to capture the students’ attention in the lower levels in the hopes they’ll move on. Without them, we wouldn’t have any upper-level classes.”

Mr. Congo, our only Latin teacher, agreed with Mrs. Mooney but also went on to say about Patriot Pride. “Middle schoolers hear all kinds of rumors about different programs. At Patriot Pride, high schoolers can talk one on one with the 8th graders and can dispel these rumors…With World Languages, students and parents are always asking which language is the easiest. The truth is that all languages have the same difficulties. It’s important that a student selects one they are truly interested in and not just taking because they think it is the easiest. Patriot Pride allows us to share that information with the upcoming students and answer specific questions.

Patriot Pride is for the sake of our teachers as much as it is for upcoming students and even current students that wish to progress to higher levels in their courses. So, just remember that the next time you complain about the disruption eighth graders bring, one of your classes may just be depending on them.

In conclusion, Patriot Pride is how our school balances the sometimes overwhelming amount of electives we offer with the needs and interests of our students and teachers, all while making it a fun experience for students new to the rigors of high school and all it can offer.