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​First day of Grade 8: Back to school in a whole new building

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The transition to high school is a big one. Grade 8 students are faced with a whole new school building, a new schedule and many new faces. As one of only two students from šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət Crosstown Elementary to attend Tupper Secondary, the first day at his new school was bittersweet for Jericho Bond. With a keen interest in Math and Science, Jericho was happy to have been accepted into Tupper’s Mini School program, but sad to say goodbye to so many friends and teachers at šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət Crosstown Elementary.

The day began bright and early in Tupper’s small gymnasium on Tuesday morning. School Counsellor Ms. Higenbottam kicked off the Grade 8 orientation with a series of engaging activities designed to wake students up in the morning and get them to mingle with each other. She then introduced the new students to Tupper’s Link Crew Leaders, a group of senior students that help Grade 8 students with their transition into high school.

The nervous energy was palpable as the eighth graders separated into breakout groups where they engaged in icebreakers with their student leaders. After getting comfortable with a few of their new classmates, a voice on the PA system instructed them to head down to the main floor to find their homerooms.

Leaders handed out maps and the Grade 8 students faced their first challenge—navigating to their homerooms in a new and unfamiliar building. Luckily, Jericho had no trouble finding the classroom of Mr. Hultquist, a science teacher and his new homeroom teacher at Tupper.

Mr. Hultquist welcomed the group of students and provided some cheerful words. “You’ve gone from being the oldest in your school to being the youngest,” he said. “You’ll soon get used to older students towering over you. Some of them tower over me too!”

Mr. Hultquist then answered questions about schedules. “What’s the difference between a period and a block?” one student asked. “They are interchangeable,” Hulquist explained.  

After receiving a series of forms, their class schedules and new agendas, the first day of school was officially in the books. The icebreakers and mingling seemed to have worked. By the end of orientation, Jericho was feeling more confident about starting his first year of high school.

Check out a video reel of Jericho’s first day of Grade 8 on the VSB’s Instagram channel.


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