Class of 2026 Experiences Upper School

New school year means new faces walking the halls


Cleo Kilpatrick

Pictured: Freshmen interviewed in the article.

When the 2022 school year began, the upper school gained a brand new group of kids into the building: the freshmen. The change can be frustrating, and people usually don’t want to make adjustments. Sometimes the freshmen are standing in the middle of the hallway, or walking on the wrong side as they get to know their way around.

 Until they are adjusted, which can take years, the freshmen cause a commotion. We spent some time getting to know a few of the freshmen and inquired about how their high school beginnings have been, their relationships with upperclassmen, favorite teachers and classes, and fun facts about themselves. We spoke with Hayden Wert ‘26, Nora Ibrani ‘26, Soren Reyes ‘26, Hamza Banatwala ‘26, Svara Arimilli ‘26, and James Lewis ‘26

In conversation about how she’s felt about the upper school so far, Wert responded saying that “it’s a lot different than the middle school.” The other freshmen agreed with this statement and added on to how it was different. Arimilli stated “I’ve learned a lot more than I think I had in the middle school…There’s more freedom and less oversight, which is good as we’re becoming more responsible.” Lewis had a similar reason saying that the biggest differences have been “freedom, and it’s not as strict, and it’s up to you, and just more responsibility.”

When asked about their favorite teachers and classes, biology and [Will] Bohrnsen was the answer for four out of the six freshmen. Ibrani stated that she likes it “even though it’s hard,” and that her favorite teacher is a tie between “either [Patrick] Barry or Mr. Bohrnsen.” 

In detail about why, Lewis said “I have a really good class, and I have a lot of friends in it, and I like what we’re learning.” Arimilli added that “it just makes sense” and that Mr. Bohrnsen is a great teacher because “he’s pretty engaging.” When Reyes spoke of his favorite teacher and class, different from the other four, he said, “I like printmaking and the printmaking guy, [Brian] Sago,” while Wert said “probably World History with [Amanda] Pomerleau.” 

The school lunch is often a topic of conversation, so we inquired about a couple of the freshmen’s favorite lunches thus far. Arimilli responded with “it was very memorable actually. Chicken tenders, caesar salad, and whatever the cake was with the cream cheese frosting.” Chicken tenders have been a fan favorite for a while now, so we weren’t too surprised to hear this difference from Arimilli. Lewis said his favorite lunch was “the chicken pesto.” Aware of his differing opinion, he added “it might not have been a really popular one, but I really liked it.”

Each of the freshmen had similar things to say about experiences with the upperclassmen, most of which have been positive. Wert, Arimilli, and Lewis all correlated their positive experiences with upperclassmen to their relationship with them in sports; Lewis said specifically “I know a lot of them, so they’re nice to me.” Ibrani shared that her experience with upperclassmen has also been positive adding to Lewis’ comment with “they’ve been personally nice to me,” but also that she “can’t speak for the rest of [her] grade.” We were glad to hear that the upperclassmen have been welcoming the freshmen in well. 

Just like other students in the upper school, the freshmen also have lives outside of school. When speaking with Reyes about his free time, he said “probably go to Lifetime.” Banatwala agreed with this and added, “play basketball.” 

Ibrani, Lewis and Arimilli both said they prefer  to spend their free time “hanging out with friends.” In addition to this, Lewis added that he also likes to spend his free time playing soccer, similar to the response of Wert who says that she, “[doesn’t] have any free time” due to her commitment to sports during both the on and off season. Keeping up with the theme of getting to know the freshmen outside of school, we were able to get some interesting facts from them . Banatwala shared that he’s lived in a lot of different countries such as Switzerland, Pakistan, Czech Republic, the U.S.. and Dubai. He said his favorite was,, “probably Switzerland, but then there’s the U.S. cause it’s you know, the U.S.” Lewis described his music taste, sharing that he’s “a lover of jazz.”

The Class of 2026 is 135 students which is an average class size, but it feels as though they are everywhere because of it. Through getting to know some of them a bit better, we realized that they aren’t all that bad. We encourage you to start a conversation with a freshmen if and when the opportunity arises and who knows, you might find that you enjoy their company. That is, after all, how great friendships start.