Choosing a High School: A Q&A with Three of our GRads

By Evan Hofsess

Applying to high school can be a very stressful time for many eighth graders.  Out of last year’s BBES graduating class, 12 students went to Red Bank Regional, 10 went to Neptune High School, four went to Monmouth County Vocational School District, and three moved out of district. With the many options provided for BBES students, how do we know which school to choose?  I had the opportunity to talk with three former BBES eight graders:  Noah Jamieson, Henry Leyva, and Bram Hofsess.  They told me how their high school experience has been so far and what things incoming freshmen can expect.

Noah Jamieson : Red Bank Regional

EH:  What high school are you going to, and why did you choose that high school?

NJ: I go to Red Bank Regional. I chose that school because my sister goes there, so I’d already known a little about it. Also, I was pretty fascinated by their I.T. program. I’ve been into computers for a while so being able to take classes for that type of stuff is awesome. 

EH: How is your high school different from middle school? 

NJ: My school is a bit different than other schools because it has the academies for people who live out of the district. You can basically choose one out of five academies, I think, and then you would take classes specifically for what academy you’re in. It’s a really cool program, and you can learn so much more than just going to regular classes.

EH: How are the sports at your high school?

NJ: The sports at high school are a little bit more competitive than at middle school. You have three teams from your sport, divided by your skill. For soccer, there’s freshman which is pretty self explanatory. Then there is JV and Varsity. JV stands for Junior Varsity. And then there’s Varsity at the top. You have to work a lot harder in high school for a spot on the team, and there are a lot of summer training sessions that I had to wake up at like 6 in the morning to go to! 

EH: What advice do you give to 8th graders applying to high school?

NJ: When applying to high schools, be yourself. Don’t try to make yourself seem to be like this other person/human being because they will know that’s not true. Also, be prepared for struggle and failure. You’re not going to get an A on every single assignment you do, so just learn from what you do and work harder the next time. Finally, quiz and test correction will save your life (you can thank me later). 

Bram Hofsess : Monmouth County Academy of Allied Health and Sciences  

EH: What high school are you going to and why did you choose to go to it?

BH: My high school is the Monmouth County Academy of Allied Health and Sciences. I chose this high school because I want to pursue a career in the medical field.  Right now, I am leaning towards physical therapy/sports medicine.

EH: Is your high school what you expected?

BH: Yes, I expected a lot of homework, but there really is A LOT of homework! There is a lot of studying, preparing for tests, note taking, and group projects.  They also focus on mental health and kindness to others.  

EH: What are the pros and cons about your high school?

BH: My high school is fun and we do a lot of fun events throughout the school year, such as a movie night in our school’s parking lot. There are a lot of clubs to join too.  I have joined the Key Club which focuses on volunteer work and service to the community.  The only downside to high school is, with the current pandemic, we are on a hybrid model, and I do not get to see my class as much as I would like.  Also, there are no sports at my high school.

EH: What advice would you give to the current 8th graders?

BH: My advice to eighth graders is to get into the habit of studying every day and finishing your homework on time.  Taking good notes is also important.  Having a planner for assignments helps you organize your tasks.  Also, if you are having trouble with a subject asking your teacher for help is important because it shows that you care about your grade.  Also, when applying to high schools, be sure to take advantage of the open houses offered by each high school.  This will give you a chance to see what each school has to offer, and to ask questions about the school.

Henry Leyva : Neptune High School

EH: What high school are you going to? Why did you choose that high school?

HL: I’m attending Neptune High School. I chose it because it was a great option for me. My brother graduated in 2019 and told me about the options and I was really intrigued by it. 

EH: How is your high school different from middle school?

HL: High school is different from middle school. Not to get anyone scared or anything but you can’t be the kid that thinks that the teachers are going to give you an extra week to let you finish your work or slack off. They will help you but you have to be the best student you can. 

EH: What activities are offered in your school? 

HL: There are many activities to choose from. Two examples are, The Blazer Club – The Blazer Club is the Neptune High School newspaper. Their job is to keep the students informed about the many activities and events going on. Neptune High Schools World Travel Club is to engage the students by traveling to different countries to learn about different cultures, customs, and historical aspects. 

EH: What advice would you give to the current 8th grade? 

HL: Some advice I would give to the current 8th grade class is to keep a good mindset and think positive. Also try new things. And don’t be afraid of what people might think because what you do now determines your future. 

Hopefully, hearing from our three former students will help eighth graders make an informed decision. The high school application process is a good practice for when you have to apply to colleges. For more information about how to apply to high schools, go to the BBES High School Information Page.

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