In the news:
Sam Rayburn students
eighth graders for high school
from eighth grade to high school isn't always an easy task
for most students. But Park View Intermediate eighth graders
recently gained some insight into the 'big move' from Sam
Rayburn High School freshmen and seniors as part of the
school's GEAR UP program.
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for
Undergraduate Programs) is a federally funded six-year
initiative currently serving more than 2,800 eighth graders
at eight of Pasadena ISD's 10 intermediate schools. GEAR UP
is designed to encourage students to attend either a college
or university after their high school graduation and to
prepare them for college success. Park View's GEAR UP
coordinator Laurie Etnyre said holding the transitional
meetings with Rayburn students have helped their program
reach its goals.
"Having the opportunity to speak with high school students
allowed our eighth graders to develop a better understanding
of what it will be like to move into the ninth grade,"
Etnyre said. "Hopefully their discussions with the Rayburn
students helped them understand how important it is to
attend class and to always do their homework and turn it in
on time, which will also ultimately better prepare them for
A panel of seven Rayburn students including three freshmen
who attended Park View last year and four seniors discussed
a variety of topics with the eighth graders including
extra-curricular activities, time management, Pre-AP and AP
classes, and taking the PSAT, ACT and SAT.
"I hope the students listened to what we said, and hopefully
they plan to participate in school activities and keep their
grades up," said Rayburn senior Julie Nguyen. "I also hope
they understand that high school is a step closer to being
on their own in the real world, so they can't slack off
anymore if that's what they're used to doing."
Park View eighth grader Gabriel Florez said speaking with
the high school students made him feel less nervous about
"I have a better perspective and understanding now of what
high school is going to be like," he said.
Rayburn's freshmen counselor Sandra Henry said students will
face the challenge of having to pass all their classes every
year because now graduation requires 26 credits as compared
to the required 24 credits in the 2005-2006 school year.
"High school is fun but there is little time or tolerance
for foolishness that takes time away from academics," said
Henry. "The faculty is under pressure to teach certain
concepts and expect their students to continue to learn on a
Etnyre said some other major differences between high school
and eighth grade include the size of the campus, the number
of students and more strict tardy rules.
"Eighth graders can start preparing for high school now by
making sure they go directly to their classes instead of
slowly making their way to class while they socialize, and
they need to make sure they write down what their
assignments are and be sure to turn them all in," she said.
"They can also help themselves make a smooth transition by
taking school more seriously this last semester and by doing
their very best."
Henry said students can also start preparing themselves for
high school by increasing the amount and level of material
they read every week as well as mentally prepare themselves
about coming to high school and being serious about
preparing for life after high school.
"I think asking questions and listening to experienced high
school kids was a good way to understand what high school
expects of us," said Park View eighth grader Favian Cortez.
Etnyre said the Rayburn students offered the eighth graders
good advice and that overall the transitional meetings were
"The high school students did a wonderful job speaking to
our eighth graders about moving into high school," said
Etnyre. "They were excited about talking to them, but they
were also serious when and stressed the important areas with
the students. I, along with my students, were so impressed."