by ‘Ailani Grach
With all the discussion about the separation of the middle and high school, we reached out to some of the parents and alumni from Waialua High and Intermediate who have children attending WHIS. We asked them their feelings about the middle – high school split and how they think that it will affect their child’s experiences here at Waialua.
One of the alumni that was reached was Ms. Kauluoa Binz who will have a daughter attending WHIS as a 7th grader next school year. Ms. Binz says, “Although her cousins are upper classmen, I think the split will give them less time to worry about getting bullied, impressing, or judging.” She stated that she enjoyed going to school with upper classmen when she was in middle school. When she made it to high school, she befriended intermediate aged students. Some of those middle school students are still friends with her today. Being a high school mentor to these students was a benefit that today’s middle school will lose.
Another parent that told me how they feel about the school split is Mrs. Raquel Hill-Achiu. She feels that the middle school students are not cut off completely from the high school routine. She also feels that the split is fine because it gives the kids that are coming from sixth grade a little breathing room to get used to a new school without worrying about what older kids think. She also states that the students aren’t completely alienated from the high school routine.
Ms. Kenwyn Shacklefurd. the mother of a 7th grade student, is opposed to how the school is splitting the middle school from the high school. Ms. Shacklefurd said, “I have seen how the transition has affected his academics while he got used to the new schedule, routines, and teachers.”
However, she also says parents have to teach accountability for their child’s actions – making adult choices based on peer pressure it would lead to adult consequences. She was also concerned about “how this was another round of transitioning into high school and the same kids that were not nice to them are now the juniors and seniors and are still behaving the same.” She also added that “the middle school concept has been around for years, so why start now – especially with the resources being stretched so thin with the DOE.”
Ms. Dayna Sanchez, who also had a child in 7th grade, is also unsure about the separation. She states, “As a parent, an educator, and an alumnus of Waialua, I am not so sure about the split. Why can’t changes be made for the middle school students without separating them from the high school?” Her 7th grade daughter enjoys being part of what the high school does. She likes the events and was comfortable with the transition from elementary school because her older brother is in the high school so she felt that she was not alone. In addition she says, “Having experience working with middle school students, I think with Waialua being a small country school, staying as one would have been a better choice. Our children are more respectful, more kind, and better behaved for it.”
While some parents are alright about the school split, others are not. Whether they are on one side or the other, the change will happen and as the teachers begin to move classrooms to accommodate the split. We just have to wait and see how this change works best for Waialua.