Perspective of a Choice Student
January 14, 2019
A Choice student is someone who attends one school, but lives in a different town. At Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, we have 57 total choice students. Usually, they join the school community as freshmen, but each year a few upperclassmen join; a few also join in middle school, although it is less common. Choice students make up around 10.1% of the students that attend Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.
Every year the School Committee votes on if the school will allow choice students. If they allow it, which happens most years, the number of students is determined by the size of the upcoming 8th-grade class, which is the new freshmen class.
To become a choice student, parents must fill out a one-page application for their child; they will then receive a number that later will be picked out randomly to decide which students get in.
This year the freshman class welcomed five students who have siblings in the school and introduced fourteen new families to the Hamilton-Wenham community.
We interviewed some Choice students to give you a look into what it is like to be one.
Gracie Parks is a freshman that graduated from Brookwood last year. We asked her how she met people here at Hamilton-Wenham. “I met people from classes and lunch but especially my elective Concert Choir.” She also expressed what was hard about being a Choice student. “On the first day, everyone already knew each other.” For her, the main difference about attending Hamilton-Wenham is that in the mornings she has to wake up earlier, which is a common annoyance for most Choice students.
Owen Denby, a sophomore, also joined the Hamilton-Wenham school community this year. He had friends that went to Hamilton-Wenham, so he knew people before he transferred from Waring. Again a big thing for him is the distance between the school and where he lives. He also plays a lot of soccer on a club team that practices 2-3 times a week which takes up his weeknights. He also said that when he gets home he eats and does homework.
Jordan Story, a junior, used to go to Rockport Middle School. She transferred to Hamilton-Wenham her freshman year. She came to Hamilton-Wenham for the academics and athletics. Jordan will be a captain of the Varsity Girls Soccer in their upcoming season next fall. The hardest thing about going to a different school is the traveling. She also plays club soccer, which takes up some of her weeknights. When she gets home from school, she does her homework.
When questioned about the difference between Choice students and students from Hamilton and Wenham, Ms. Lazzaro explained that there is no difference between students from Hamilton-Wenham and other towns. She then went on to say that teachers often don’t know if one of their students is a choice student unless they are specifically told.
Sydney Rahilly, a sophomore at our school, told us that,
The hardest thing about being a choice student is definitely the commute to school.”
Ms. Lazzaro said she was interested in transportation and the planning of rides before and after school. The majority of Choice students say that it takes 20-40 minutes to get to school; some people sleep, others listen to music or work on homework. Once they get home, which could be a half hour or an hour later, they have to decide what they can do with the rest of their night. They could hang out with friends, participate in sports, or just do schoolwork.
Some Choice students mentioned that at first, it was hard to get to know people, but now they have met friends and become more comfortable at our school.
Sydney Rahilly, again expressed that,“
Freshman year was a bit difficult at first because I didn’t know many people in my grade. I had to basically start over and make new friends and learn my way around the school. I was a bit shy last year because I didn’t know anyone, meanwhile everyone else knew each other.”
Throughout the years at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, students have come from all over Cape Ann and surrounding towns, and they lend a hand in making Hamilton-Wenham a diverse and welcoming environment.