On January 6th and 7th, 8th-grade students from the district had the opportunity to take a field trip and tour State High. Mount Nittany visited on the 6th and Park Forest visited on the 7th. Kids who were homeschooled or went to a different school had the option to visit either day. The tour was mainly focused around State High’s CTC (Career and Technical Center) courses. However, students were still given more information about the high school and got the chance to visit various locations in the school, such as the cafeteria and HUB.
Students watched interactive presentations from various programs, including Early Childhood Education, Automotive Technology, Building Construction, Materials Processing, Agricultural Science, Cisco Networking, Computer Programming, Architectural Drafting and Design, Computer Graphics/Video Media Tech, Engineering Technology, Health Profession electives, Accounting and finance, Marketing/Supply Chain, IB, and Culinary Arts. “The tour was very informational,” 8th grader Bella Poehner said. “I’m very excited to specialize my schedule and make it more me. I like the freedom we have with course choices.”
For many 8th graders, it can feel very overwhelming when entering the building and seeing all the options the school offers. “I feel like I’m going to get lost in the school,” Toni Gaddis, 8th grader, said.
The course selection process occurs in January and gives 8th graders limited time to choose their electives, which can be hard in a school that gives so many options and opportunities to students. Because this tour was based around elective options, 8th graders now have a better understanding of some of their elective choices and what they are interested in. While they got to see some electives, students wished that they could have seen a few more of the other options instead of just CTC related electives, such as language or more art-related electives.
These tours were given by the Little Lion Ambassadors, a student-run group at State High which is dedicated to welcoming new students into the State High community. Members are selected to join by their counselors during their freshman year. For these students in LLA, it was a rewarding experience to be a tour guide.
“Being a tour guide was a really fun and rewarding experience,” Gabe Marshall, sophomore member of LLA who was a tour guide, said. “I was in the 8th grader’s position a few years ago and I was very nervous coming to the high school, so the tour is always able to bring that experience full circle.”
Many current State High students enjoy seeing the 8th graders come on the tour. Many of these students love seeing their old teachers, say hello, and reminisce on their past lives when they were in middle school.
Transitioning to the high school can be difficult for these 8th graders, but it is comforting to know that they will be welcomed into the State High Community with open arms.