Looking back on the semester

As first semester comes to an end The Talon asked a few students what they think made this semester unique:


Dana Zamat (Grade 9): It has been unique because it’s my first year in high school, and I was given opportunities that other schools wouldn’t have given me. For example, I was able to play on both JV and Varsity soccer teams, which was amazing. Also the PGC program welcomed me to the High School and made the transition easier.

Fê Sayão (Grade 10): Honestly, the only thing right now that is keeping me going is the mere thought of vacation! Overall, this semester has been a compilation of bitter tears and feelings of defeat. I struggled a lot adapting to the new grading system, and varsity practice only added to the stress. I feel very strongly about grades. I’ve never liked them, and having the new grading system be based off solely on “knowledge” deeply bothered me. In my opinion, the ideal education system would be one where grades do not exist, so that students develop an interest and a pleasure in learning without depending on grades as a reward. Stubborn as I am, I refused to embrace the new grading system at the beginning, and I suffered a lot because of that. I think I’m doing much better now, accepting what has been done, focusing my mind on more important things, and moving forward.

Michael Kern (Grade 10): This semester at Graded has been unique for different reasons, ranging from new friends to exciting class trips. Yet, unfortunately, this semester has been rather unique because of the abrupt changes in the way we learn. Completely disregarding student opinion, the school seemed to make what was an already tough curriculum even more stressful and harder, changing the grading system and the teaching methods to “adapt to the 21st century.” Sure, it seems like a very interesting idea, yet students can’t simply magically transition smoothly into it. Actually from my perspective this has been the toughest transition period, the complete opposite of a smooth and adaptive. It feels like the school is a swimming instructor who just threw the students into a deep swimming pool and said, “Go on, swim” while they sit down and shout words of encouragement and explain how tough swimming is. Sure, we are teenagers and are expected to adapt to change quickly, but we need a float on at least one arm, some sort of help. For me, to be quite frank, this severe disappointment is why the semester has been so unique, because a school with one of its main goals as valuing excellence has failed to show excellence to itself.

Vicky Fernandes (Grade 11): It was my first semester of IB, which has transformed me as a student, in a good way. Also, this semester was the first one with the new grading system, which has also changed my approach to learning. Honestly, I have learned to appreciate this new method by now, even though it scared me a bit on the first few weeks of school.

Andrew Veilleux (Grade 12): The new grading system and senioritis. It’s as simple as that.