Junior Year: “The Toughest Year of High School”
Junior year. Everyone goes through it. Although exciting, it can be a handful. Preparing for SATs and ACTs, scrambling to get service hours, trying to succeed athletically, participating in clubs and other activities, all while trying to keep grades steady. It is a vital time to begin the college search process, and also impress colleges; the effort put in can very well determine a student’s future. Although stressful and intimidating, if properly balanced, junior year can be the best year of high school.
Any sport takes a lot of time and effort, and Clarence (CJ) Charleston Junior (‘19) would know this. He has been a starter for the basketball and football team since his freshman year, and still manages to keep up with the rest of his priorities. Although he has not started his SAT and ACT testing, he has visited Louisville University and Duke in hopes of continuing his athletic career in college. Charleston also completed his service hours over the summer helping with different basketball camps and helping with the Special Olympics program at Gilmour. With all that is on his plate, he claims junior year to be his favorite.
Charleston says, “Junior year is my favorite year so far because of not only my placing academically, but because of how successful the football team was this year. Although I am used to balancing my grades and athletics from playing basketball and football freshman and sophomore year, there is a lot more pressure this year with trying to impress colleges with both my athletics and academic scores.”
In a couple years, Charleston sees himself as a successful college student athlete, which he thinks he is prepared for because of his time at Gilmour. He would like to advise the sophomore class in preparation for junior year to not procrastinate, because only bad things come of it, and it can add to your overall stress.
Although sports can add to the stress of junior year, there are also many others activities that can cause for a busy schedule; one of those being participation in different clubs. Madison Wagner (‘19) has her own club, Make A Difference Club (M.A.D.) which she says takes up almost all of her free time. Wagner has only taken the PSAT so far, but like Charleston has gone on two college visits, hers being to Ohio State University and Miami University of Oxford, Ohio. Wagner also wants to look at a couple more options for different business schools such as Indiana University and Vanderbilt. Wagner created her club in hopes to provide service opportunities for others and to help the community, and she has done exactly that.
Wagner says, “This year with Gilmour, we harvested 2,500 pounds of vegetables for the hungry, totaling at 5,000 pounds with last year’s harvest. I am trying to put M.A.D. Club first this year, which is a challenge because schools is becoming more demanding as the year progresses. Yes, grades are important to me, but over the course of my lifetime, I’m not going to worry about a test grade.”
Wagner hopes to continue helping others through M.A.D. Club, and she would advise the sophomore class in preparation for junior year to pick what is important to them, and focus on that.
Junior Counselor, Mr. Jamie Kazel has been in charge of the guidance for juniors and seniors for two years now. Kazel tries to make himself a familiar and comforting face at the beginning of the year so that students can feel comfortable with going to him for guidance. He also helps out students that are in unwanted academic situations and tries to help put them back on their desired path. Now that he is adjusting to the character of the juniors and seniors, he sees that the students are the ones in control, and he is just there to make sure everyone is moving in the right direction.
Kazel says, “As juniors and seniors, you know what needs to be done. I help put the responsibility in these students by motivating, guiding and inspiring. Every year has it’s challenges; as a freshman, there is a whole new environment that students need to adjust to, academically and socially. As a sophomore, students are challenged with AP courses and exploring different classes; as a junior, you have state testing and impressing colleges, and senior year is a matter of collecting everything from all four years. Every year has it’s own individual challenge, but junior year has a lot more balancing.”
Charleston and Wagner are examples of countless hardworking students who are challenged with balancing junior year. The effort that students put in their junior year reflects on where they will go for the rest of their lives, and what colleges they will fit into. It is important to remember the Gilmour motto, “Perseveranti Dabitur,” or success goes to those who persevere.