Diocesan sixth graders get a glimpse of life at Bishop Grimes
by Luke Eggleston
Sun staff writer
Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School recently had an opportunity to showcase its facilities and its staff for sixth graders from Catholic schools throughout the greater Syracuse area.
Tuesday, Feb. 10 through Thursday, Feb. 12, students from schools including St. Daniel-St. Matthew’s Academy, Blessed Sacrament School, Cathedral Academy at Pompei School, Immaculate Conception School, Holy Cross School, St. Margaret’s School and St. Rose of Lima School each participated in a “Transition Day.”
The students arrived at 10 a.m. each day and were greeted by Bishop Grimes’ guidance counselors Susan Nedza and Mary Daily, as well as several seniors and student government officers gathered in the cafeteria.
“It’s just to get them used to junior high,” said Sister James Therese Downey, OSF, the school’s principal. “They’re introduced to the guidance counselors and what the guidance counselors do in the building. They’re introduced to some of the classes and see what the curriculum is and how it works. They learn how to open lockers and things like that just to get them a little more comfortable when they come to junior high.”
Nedza noted that the event is particularly valuable for offering the elementary school students a glimpse of the Bishop Grimes experience.
“It’s a transition day program and it’s just that. It’s to transition kids to middle school. We’re hoping that it helps them take a look at Bishop Grimes and see all the good things that go on here — all the clubs and activities. They get to look around and see what’s going on,” she said.
Nedza added that the youngsters also have an opportunity to interact with seventh graders who have recently made the full-time transition, as well as seniors who can instruct them on each facet of life at the Catholic school.
“They get to meet current sevent graders and hopefully that will help to transition them. They also get to meet the seniors who have been here for seven years so they learn the ins and outs of Bishop Grimes,” Nedza said. “They get to see all the great activities and support they’ll get when they come to Bishop Grimes.”
Senior Jim Morgan is among the students selected to participate in the Transition Day program. He plans on attending Onondaga Community College for two years before transferring to either Marquette University or Syracuse University where he hopes to study communications. A baseball player, Morgan is also “the Voice of the Cobras” as he announces both the boys and girls basketball teams’ home games, along with the football team’s home games.
“I just want them to feel comfortable, feel at home; that it’s a safe place to be. Throughout my six years here I’ve never felt more comfortable and it’s really a great family atmosphere and it’s a great place to grow up,” Morgan said.
Nedza also acknowledged that even if some of the students do not attend Bishop Grimes in seventh grade, the program will help familiarize them with middle school and high school environments.
“Even if they’re not a kid who is able to come to Grimes — although we hope that as many as possible will — it gives them middle school experience,” she said. “It’s a seven through 12 building so they get the feel of what it’s like to change classes and what the noise level is like when there’s a lot of students in the hall. It’s nice to have them here now rather than just over the summer because right now there’s activities, there are teachers, there are students in the building and they can ask any question about middle school anywhere they go.”
After meeting the guidance counselors, the sixth graders are given an overview of Bishop Grimes’ library followed by presentations from various extracurricular organizations including clubs and sports teams.
In order to give the sixth graders a more intimate knowledge of the school, they then participated in a “Treasure Hunt,” in which they answered questions by going to different parts of the building including various classrooms, the attendance office, the nurse’s office and the gymnasium.
Following the “Treasure Hunt,” the students returned to the cafeteria to have lunch with the Bishop Grimes seventh graders and seniors. At the end of the day, their parents had an opportunity to meet with staff members and ask questions about the school.