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Growing into high school & new friends

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POSTED September 15, 2009 3:38 a.m.

The high school experience can be tough on freshmen.

For the most part, they’ve had to adjust to a new school with hallway lockers. This new surroundings may also entail these ninth-grade students jumping from classroom to classroom and, based on their schedule, racing across campus in a matter minutes.

In terms of the pecking order, they’ve gone from the rulers of the school as eighth graders to the new kids on the block.

Now, I’m finding out that the high school experience can be equally tough on first-time parents.

My son, Josh, started high school. With that comes a new routine.

Rather than a designated drop-off area, I’ve had to quickly figure out the routine of delivering my boy safely to school.

That’s just for starters.

High school, by the way, is different from elementary school in that the older kids drive to school, thus, making for more vehicle traffic in the morning.

I’ve been able to get around some of road congestion on El Dorado Street – my son attends St. Mary’s High – by leaving home just a little bit earlier. Since we reside about a mile or so away from campus, we’ve also tried bike riding to school. For me, there’s nothing like getting the old ticker going at the top of the morning.

The afternoons have been my biggest concern. In elementary school, Josh was in an afterschool program and it took him just a matter of minutes to walk from school to his grandmother’s house.

Not so in high school.

On the first day, I was stuck in one-way traffic on campus for nearly a half hour after picking up Josh from school.

No way was this again going to happen.

I made a call to my friend Richard, who has a daughter, Anna, a junior, attending the same school, on the matter.

He got around that problem by waiting an hour or so after dismissal to pick up Anna, who would often wait in the library with friends during that time.

Since then, I’ve been able to do likewise the same with my son.

Josh doesn’t really mind the library, where he’s able to get some homework started while having access to the computers.

On the days he rides his bike, he’s able to leave school at his own convenience.

It’s only been a month since the school year started and I know things are subject to change. Josh has managed to join a few clubs and I’m encouraged by his willingness to get involved.

Not too long ago, I went to my first back-to-school night at my son’s new school just to get an idea of his routine. Included that evening was following Josh’s class schedule and hearing the expectations from each of his teachers.

Even though it was just a small sample of his day, I was overwhelmed.

Josh came along with me for this event. But it was social opportunity for him to hang out with some of his friends.

And for the first time, I could sense this feeling of belongingness that Josh has to his new surroundings.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail

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