It has been a couple of weeks since I started Year 9, and it has been quite the transition.
I finished at Gisborne Intermediate (Gisint) around the middle of December and was on a two month break until February. I’m not at Gisint this term because intermediate only goes to Year 8. I’m at Gisborne Boys High School (GBHS for short), and I am having a really good time!
For starters, high school in New Zealand isn’t the same as in the US. It starts in Year 9 (8th grade) unlike in the US where it starts in 9th grade, but goes to Year 13 (12th grade) as it does in the US. I personally don’t really have a preference of either way, and I think it’ll be cool to have had a little taste of what high school is like before going in the USA.
On my first day of school, I only knew my friends from Gisint, and it took me a second to realize that most of them were in the same position as I was, which felt good. This was a new school with new people and a new campus, but hey, at least we knew a couple people!
On the first day of school, we were all sorted into our “form classes’ which is where you meet in the morning before you go to your classes. There are about 15 people in my form classes, which is pretty standard, I think. I’m still figuring things out. When we were sorted into our form classes, we all got a timetable, which showed us where and when all of our classes were. To me, this was the first sign that this was really a high school, like in the US, because at Mater Dei (my school in DC), everyone has the same classes at the same times. But at GBHS, there are seven levels of each class called streams (A7 to A1; A1 being the highest) and there are classes such Science, English, Maths (yes, with an ‘s’; try saying that ten times fast without spitting), and Social Studies. I’m in A1 with most of my friends and we have all of the classes that I said before, and my bonus class is tech. Also we have PE 4/5 days of the week.
Another new thing about GBHS is that there are grades, unlike my previous school, Gisint. But the grading system is very different to the one that I’m used to in DC. This is how it is here:
You can get a maximum of 30 credits per class that you are in, and to pass the year, you need a certain amount of credits. I believe the maximum amount of credits that you can get in a year is 300.
I prefer the US grading system because it seems a whole lot simpler to me, but that’s just my opinion.
Just last week, there was an announcement that we were going on the Year 9 camp. It was then that I realized that besides the kids I had known from Gisint, I didn’t know anyone in my stream, A1. This was the perfect chance to get to know everybody, which was the intention of the camp. We went from Tuesday to Friday and it was really fun. We got to do all sorts of things like surfing, kayaking, and I learned the basic rules of cricket! Not that I’m any good at it, but at least I know what to do. I also thought it was awesome that we were going camping as a class and we were just casually going surfing, as if it is was the norm (that’s because it was!). In DC, we would be doing stuff like rock climbing or canoeing, but why not spend the morning at the beach!
I really enjoyed getting to know everybody, because now our class feels more like a class, not just a group of students who don’t really know each other. And even though GBHS may be a whole lot different of a school than what I’m used to, that’s fine with me.
I’ve gotten pretty good at different!