Freshman transition made easier through seminar courses


Zachary Jones

Each freshman seminar is interest-based. The leadership freshman (pictured here) seminar is made up of students interested in SGA and leadership courses.

Zachary Jones, Staff Writer

Many freshmen enter high school expecting large work loads and a tough transition. Bearden’s new Freshman Seminar courses, however, have gotten rid of some of that stigma through the implementation of fun and engaging activities, while also helping them begin high school on the right foot.

Current freshmen were sorted into interest groups, such as Leadership and Acting, in order to give them a group of people that they could easily connect with. These interest groups, which make up the different seminar courses, are intended to make school more enjoyable by giving these students projects that apply to these interests.

The outdoor interest seminar taught by Mr. Brian Melton has recently done a project most people have never done before. Mr. Melton began by showing parts of the documentary Alone in the Wilderness, which tells the story of Dick Proenneke, who lived in wilderness Alaska alone.

“I then had the kids design and build their own log cabin on grid paper,” Mr. Melton said.

Students in the leadership interest group were assigned the task of designing the freshmen class shirt for Spirit Week.

The main supporter behind the creation of these seminar courses is assistant principal Mrs. Cassandra Dowd. Upon finding out the new schedule Bearden currently has, Mrs. Dowd saw an opportunity to help freshmen successfully begin their high school careers.

“[Bearden faculty] wanted something that would be meaningful for kids but not too overwhelming because they are already taking on a big load,” Mrs. Dowd said. “High school transition is already tough, so we wanted to design something that would assist with that and be able to cover topics that we don’t always have time for in regular classes.”

Mrs. Dowd began designing the set curriculum for Freshman Seminar while she was at William Blount, and she has personalized it for Bearden. The first three weeks of school helped the freshmen learn about the different areas of the school, school rules, resources, and the clubs that are offered.

“It’s a really nice class to just take a break from school and figure out everything you need to figure out for the year,” freshman Alyssa Lewis said. “The teachers are really helping if you have any questions, so I think it will help me in the future.”

As the class progresses, the teachers will help the freshmen learn skills that can help them succeed in the future, such as tips for note and test taking.