On Thursday, May 20, eighth-grade students from Farnsworth Middle School visited Guilderland High School for an informational day visit. The purpose of the visit was to introduce FMS students to GHS and for them to gain insight into how middle school differs from high school. In addition, current GHS students volunteered to guide FMS students around the building, as well as speak to the eighth-grade students about their high school experiences. In total, over 120 GHS students volunteered to participate in the introductory visit.
On Thursday morning, FMS students were enthusiastically greeted by the GHS cheerleading team, who formed a “human tunnel” in the high school entrance. The eighth-grade students were then led into the auditorium for an introductory assembly where they were given a brief overview of their schedule for the day and watched incredible performances from the Pep Band, Chamber Choir, and Unaccompanied Minors. In addition, the eighth-graders listened to current GHS seniors Monica Eldiery, Lauren Reilly and Nathan DeJoy, who detailed their high school experiences and provided advice on how to succeed. The three GHS students covered topics such as how to manage time productively, how to meet new people and the fluidity of post-graduation plans.
After the assembly, the FMS students were divided into groups and led by GHS student leaders to tour the building. Two GHS student leaders, Melina and Nathaniel, led their small group of FMS students around the high school, accompanied by FMS teacher Ms. Young. Melina and Nathaniel showed the eighth-graders the various wings of the building and introduced the middle-schoolers to some faculty along the way. Melina and Nathaniel also shared their tips and tricks for getting around the building, showed FMS students where their classes could be potentially located in the fall and explained the differences between the middle school and high school schedules. According to Melina and Nathaniel, the biggest difference is that students will have more independence and responsibility, so it’s important to stay on top of everything.
Following the tour of the high school, FMS students returned to the auditorium to listen to a student-teacher panel. The panel consisted of GHS teachers Lynne Baumgartner, Tom Dvorscak, Nicole Kaya and Sue Stevens. Current GHS freshmen Brandon Wilson, Nadia Hawrylchak, Brendon Cao, Matt Vanwormer and Jane Fanning addressed questions commonly asked by incoming freshmen and provided the eighth graders with two different perspectives: the teacher perspective and the student perspective. Furthermore, FMS students learned the type and amount of work they can expect from teachers, while GHS students provided them advice on how to best manage their academics with other responsibilities.
Following the student-teacher panel, the FMS students listened to a brief presentation from GHS Assistant Principal Brian Mazza and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) director Matt Pinchinat. Mr. Mazza and Mr. Pinchinat talked to students about the district’s DEI mission, which included “developing an understanding of multiple perspectives.” According to Mr. Pinchinat, “perspective is everything.” This means that everyone has different perspectives and interpretations of situations, so it’s important to be mindful of actions and words. The goal of Guilderland’s DEI initiatives is to help students understand the multiple perspectives that exist in their daily lives and to guide them in their responses.
The day concluded with eighth-grade students listening to a student panel composed of current GHS students who answered questions about different ways to get involved in the high school. Each student explained the various organizations and activities they were a part of, as well as suggested to the incoming freshmen how to find the “perfect fit” come the fall semester. With so many opportunities offered by GHS, there are numerous ways for students to get involved and be an active part of their school community in the fall of 2022.