This past year has been a very challenging school year for students and teachers alike. In an ordinary year, freshmen would have been able to make new friends during exposure, lunch, and sports. Due to the pandemic, they did not have this opportunity. Thankfully, though, the High School Experience class offered them an opportunity to make new friends, learn new things, and destress from a particularly stressful school year.

In an interview with Mr. Mann, a sophomore and freshman High School Experience class teacher, he stated that the High School Experience exists to “help kids deal with what’s going on in High School, to get through your high school career. How to navigate your way through high school. How to deal with certain situations that happen in High School.” In other words, it serves as a guide to high school, and helps prepare students for their high school careers, and can even serve as an impactful guide that extends beyond high school. Expanding on that, he described how he helps students overcome difficult situations, “One of the things I teach is: what do you do if you’re in class with somebody and you don’t like them. You’re set on a project and you don’t like them, like how do you deal with it, you know what I mean? So it’s basically how to deal with other people, how to, basically just get through high school in one piece.”

In an interview with Jack Kelley, a freshman from Norton, he described his experience in Mr. Mann’s High School Experience Class, “For the most part, in High School Experience what we do is go over our days for the first part of it. Then what we do is go over news topics…and we go over politics and how everyone feels, and I feel like Mr. Mann is really good at communicating how it’s okay to feel how we feel. Other than that, at first it was getting used to all of our classmates, of course we’re freshmen and don’t really know a lot of people, about the school, or the teachers or the curriculum, and at first it was getting to know Mr. Mann, and then as well as the classmates and the teachers.” Jack continued, saying that it helped him learn a lot about the people around him and it helped him learn more about effective study skills, “[Mr. Mann] talks a lot about time management, and getting to class on time, getting assignments done on time, and, ultimately, being there as a student in the classroom and in the school. And it really helps. It helps me be there, and it helps me focus a lot of the time when I need to get extra work done, and if I need to sit back and take a mental breather.”

When asked if students enjoy High School Experience, Mr. Mann responded, “I actually do. The students I deal with on a daily basis, y’know sophomores and freshmen, they enjoy coming to class. I’ve heard from them that they enjoy it. I’ve gotten emails from parents, they’re loving what we’re doing.” This claim was confirmed by Kelley, who, when asked the same question, responded by saying, “ I think we enjoy it, yeah. There’s a common concept among freshmen, I feel like, where we kind of feel antisocial, just a little bit, and in such a huge school how are we supposed to navigate, you know what I mean, but Mr. Mann genuinely gets us comfortable.” Moreover, Cadence McBride, a sophomore in Legal and Protective Services, was also asked the same question, to which she responded, “It seems like they’re enjoying it because they give all of their effort, and put their best foot forward, and it’s really great. Everyone gets along with each other really well and we are just a positive little classroom.”

High School Experience is a great opportunity for freshman students and sophomore students to learn more about others, themselves, their school, and to guide them, as a support, for their careers, not just in high school, but for their future careers as well. When asked if Kelley would recommend this class to other schools, he responded, “Absolutely. Just because when you are so bombarded with assignments and when you have a time to laugh during school, especially right now, because…we’re not very social of course. And, it helps us be more out there, and it’s helped me find one or two new friends. And it’s absolutely beneficial.” Also, when McBride was asked if she would recommend this program for other schools, she responded, “ I would recommend High School Experience to other schools, mainly because I think it’s a great way to give kids a new perspective on life, it’s not like your other academic classes, and it’s a great safe environment.”

Overall, the High School Experience class is offering students the opportunity to express themselves and gain new perspectives. Freshman students and sophomore students alike are enjoying the class, and reaping many benefits from it.

About the High School Experience Class

“High School Experience” is a mandatory pass/fail class that all freshman students are required to take, since 2019, and all sophomores as well, since 2020. By providing an opportunity to learn more about other students, students themselves, news events, the school, and by providing an opportunity to engage in a healthy open class discussion as well as by allowing additional time to each student to finish any missing or tardy work they may have in core academic classes, the High School Experience class creates an atmosphere where students are guided and supported in their high school career, allowing them to succeed, know what it’s like to be in high school, and express themselves.

Contact:  Mr. Mann can be contacted at dmann@sersd.org.

About Southeastern

At Southeastern, students choose from twenty career majors in preparation for life’s challenges and opportunities. The school combines a rigorous academic curriculum with state of the art vocational and technical studies to help students realize their full learning potential. The schedule is designed to have students alternate between academic and technical coursework. This process promotes the integration of studies and helps bridge the gap between theoretical and practical experience.

The hands-on approach to learning helps connect students to education and provides the basis for life-long learning – an essential skill in today’s highly competitive global market. Upon graduation, students have the choice of furthering their education in any two or four-year institution or going directly into the workforce.

The Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School District consists of a four-year public high school and a post-secondary technical institute. The high school offers 20 career majors to students from Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxboro, Mansfield, Norton, Sharon, Stoughton and West Bridgewater.

To learn more about Southeastern, please visit https://www.sersd.org/

Written by André Arzeno, Legal & Protective Services, Brockton