Link crew addresses failing freshmen

Jessica Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief & News Editor

130 freshmen have two or more F’s; 16 percent have a GPA of 1.0 or lower

Ninth grader Tom opens up his first semester report card and glances over his grades—two D’s and four F’s. Three years later, Tom struggles to make up credits and is told he might not be able to graduate because of a P.E. class he failed freshman year.

According to Registrar Betty Abel, out of the 559 students in the Bear Creek freshman class of 2017, 16 percent have a GPA of 1.0 or lower.

“I think they’re not successful because a lot of them this year don’t have good study habits and are not prioritizing,”

senior Link Crew leader Romuel Trocino said. “It’s a work ethic problem.”

Freshman Arturo Olvera thinks the problem lies elsewhere.

“Technology, bullying, family problems, stress—those are things I know that affect your grades,” Olvera said. “Maybe friends are holding them back.

“I always struggled because I wasn’t focused,” Olvera added.

According the the National High School Center, students fail ninth grade more than any other grade in high school. A majority of students who do poorly their freshman year drop out of high school.

“I refuse to do the work because I don’t like the teacher,” freshman Jaime Cuevas said. “He doesn’t explain it right. Nobody’s willing to help me [at home], that’s why I have to go to tutoring.”

Passing freshman year is a critical step toward graduating. To ensure staying on the right path, Link Crew leaders on campus engage incoming freshmen with activities and presentations to help ninth graders transition from middle school to high school. These activities also include one-on-one interviews with Link Crew leaders.

“We talk about their past, where they went to middle school and how they did there academically and socially,” senior Link Crew leader Quinn Thomas said. “Then we talk about their grades and what their plan is to improve.”

Freshman orientation occurs a week before school starts to introduce students to the high school campus and life.

“It helps them with their future academic careers,” senior Link Crew leader Jessica Miller said. “They realize they need to step it up if they’re not up to par.”

However, not all freshmen actively participate in the presentations.

“There are always some freshmen who just shrug it off and give you answers like ‘okay’ [and] ‘yeah’ just to get it over with,” Thomas said.

Freshmen who fail multiple classes must make up their credits through adult school or retake classes at continuation schools.

“I don’t think it’s just important to pass freshman year but also sophomore, junior and senior year because if you fail your freshman year, then you’re going to get used to failing [every other grade],” junior Link Crew leader Alexise Gitthens said.

Approximately 130 freshmen have two or more F’s. Registrar Betty Abel says that if freshmen continue to do this poorly, they will not graduate.

“Credit recovery and alternate schools do not always work to change the direction of things,” Abel said.

A student is required to complete at least 230 credits to graduate from high school. Freshmen who fall behind in their first year struggle to reach that requirement.

“There are some students who were surprised to know they could fail a class because in their earlier years they would just move on,” world geography and Link Crew teacher Brenda Henrich said. “If they’re already having to make up classes with in the next three years, then they lose out on electives or other opportunities.”

This year, Link Crew plans to host a special assembly for freshmen similar to the “Every 15 Minutes” program—but with a different objective: to motivate freshmen students to do better academically.

“We want to have an assembly for freshmen to explain what happens if you don’t do well your freshman year,” junior Link Crew leader Mesmariah Reyes said. “We’re going to separate them by how many are failing and how many are passing.”

Reyes believes the pressure of being put on the spot and singled out for their failure will prompt students to work harder academically.

“We also suggested having Link Crew leaders now talk about their past experience with doing bad [in school],” Trocino said. “Some of the Link Crew leaders had struggles themselves.”

After seeing their first semester grades, some freshmen realize that ninth grade is as important as any other year.

“I kinda have to [do well] or I’ll get into a lot of trouble,” Cuevas said.