Joey’s Review of Grades 7-12


Joey as a baby freshman, which was his favorite year.

The common opinion among teenagers to young adults is that high school sucks, homework is hard, classes are stressful, and making friends or fitting in proves to be more difficult than it was in the 80s’ flick you saw with your parents last weekend. This is the take of dramatic adults in college who participated in no extracurriculars, sports, or clubs, hence creating an experience that involved only schoolwork and the only social interaction you get is within your immediate friend group. As someone who has been involved in more than just the bare minimum, I can safely say that high school is something I have been able to enjoy, but this is a ranking of years 7-12 by their enjoyability, eventfulness, and overall experience.
In the #6 spot is 8th grade. 8th grade was the year that I first qualified for state in swimming and I started to take my athletics seriously. I was the big kid on the block for the middle schooler section of the swim team. Other than that, eighth grade was uneventful, kind of lame.
In spot #5 is my seventh grade year. This was my first year in swimming and the year I joined the Ben Franklin Jazz Band. I was just starting to play the bass guitar as well. My experience joining swimming was less than satisfactory, but I had a really good time with my classes. Mr. Jones’ Life Science class was the discovery of science for me. Before it was just another class, but with Life Science came explanations of how different organisms functioned and how those functions relate to your own body. This was all very very fascinating to me.
On the last day of school the entire population of Ben Franklin was shoved into a hallway with the doors locked and the air conditioning off resulting in multiple kids fainting, and mass hysteria while the tornado siren sounded for thirty minutes after the bell rang. Nonetheless, that class was not quite enough to pull seventh grade year anywhere higher than the #5 spot.
In spot #4 comes junior year. This year quite frankly was bland, I wasn’t in the pit orchestra, and half the year felt wasted because of Covid. The entire thing felt like it was a half baked attempt by Fargo to make the high schoolers have fun even through Zoom. This aside, the beginning of the year was fun. Taking pictures of the homecoming game signified a good start to my journalism career, and after that I was involved in one of my favorite swim years. We actually got to do things as a team, because Covid had not yet hit the nation. If there was no virus and we were able to participate in things like normal, this year would have been a lot higher.
#3 is Sophomore year. It was a magical year where I played in the Jazz band, was involved in a ton of different school activities, hung out with friends virtually every day, but it was also the year that I got beat up in the hallway for provoking someone. I made really good friends with a lot of the upperclassmen during Newsies, and the underclassmen below me were either fighting each other, making me laugh, or both. That group of kids is great, and I still love them to this day. On top of a great year that quite frankly stressed me out (I was taking physics and chemistry at the same time, because I for some reason thought it was a good idea), I was also doing really well with the swim team. I was starting to be more of a leader among the team, less annoying among the upperclassmen, and I was able to bond with the guys about stuff that you don’t really understand or relate with until you’re older. I placed at state in the 500 and I was able to impress my teammates enough that my title got revoked and moved to Ty Boutwell. A good year, but there’s still better.
Senior year, the year that really made me reconsider how much effort I was really willing to put into literally anything. Senioritis kicked in during about September, and I stopped caring about turning in my school work on time. The hybrid style during the fall was kind of a drag, it put a lot of stress on the teachers, because they had to find a way to keep us all entertained while simultaneously giving us all enough homework to do at home that it constitutes a day of school. On the other hand, it was the year I was able to finally get into the upper level jazz band with Drago. I was able to play music alongside people who loved to play just like I do, and I learned a lot about what makes certain jazz, well, jazzy. I began to write better articles for the paper, and I was getting back involved in a pit, which I hadn’t done junior year because there was no guitar part for Putnam. But senior year I was able to join the pit orchestra for Tuck Everlasting, where the music was always making me smile and was something I was able to pour my heart and soul into while I played. Swimming was absolutely fantastic this year as well, I was able to place in the top eight which I had never done before, I achieved an all time best in the 500, and I was able to enjoy a relatively normal season with a group of guys that I will never forget, as well as a coach whose advice will ring in my ears for a few minutes and then leave because I can’t listen very well. Senior year was a great way to close my high school career, but the top spot is reserved for the year that started it all.
My favorite year out of all of high school is freshman year, the year where awkward, side-part, noisy, rambunctious Joey wreaked havoc among the entire school while laughing and messing around with friends. I met so many new people, and instantly got along with the upperclassmen. My year started out with the pit orchestra for the musical Heathers, and the 24 hour play. Getting to know the theatre group was a blast and being involved in these productions made me feel included, wanted, despite the fact that I was likely annoying everyone the entire time. On top of the two official productions I was a part of, I also joined the Improv team alongside some of the upperclassmen I met in Geometry class with Mr. Capistran. This group of kids taught me how to make other people laugh, while making me laugh all the while. On top of all these amazing experiences alongside the theatre crew, I also had one of the best years of my swim career up until senior year. I managed to qualify for every single event except for the breaststroke, and I was able to become one of the best 500 free swimmers on the team, alongside Tate Fisher and Mason Engler. The seniors included my brother’s grade, which held a lot of his friends whom I knew, and the rest of the team consisted of kids that I both admired and looked up to. So for my performance to be good that year was special, because I was able to show the benefits of all my hard work to my upperclassmen that I respected so much. This school year was then followed by my first summer as a lifeguard, which was- less than ideal- but still a valuable experience nonetheless.
Moral of the story ladies, gentlemen, and fellow students, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone in order to learn how to have fun, in order to give yourself an experience you might have never had. You don’t want to live the rest of your life in regret of what you could have done, rather, live your life thankful that you put yourself out there and gave yourself the opportunity to have experiences, chances, and memories that never would have happened without a little bit of courage. Have fun with high school, Hollywood doesn’t do it the justice it deserves.