Not So Fresh

Senior+Natalie+Lewandowski+shares+a+laugh+with+friends+she+made+in+her+freshmen+Gym+Swim+class.

Senior Natalie Lewandowski shares a laugh with friends she made in her freshmen Gym Swim class.

As yellow leaves begin to crunch below our feet, cider mills open their doors to eager food enthusiasts, and hoodies find their way out of musty bins in our summery closets, it’s clear that the fall season is quickly approaching.  Along with the excitement of the fall season, we must also endure the beginning of a new school year.  Every school year brings new herds of freshmen wandering into classes such as Design Foundations, Speech, and Gym Swim.  Among the gang of enthusiastic 14-year-olds taking a normal freshman schedule, one may find something not so expected: an upperclassman standing tall in the pack.

“I didn’t plan on taking a freshman class,” said senior Natalie Lewandowski, “but my counselor said I needed it to graduate.”

Lewandowski is currently taking Gym Swim — during the first semester of her senior year.  Gym Swim, typically a freshman level course, is open to all ages.  The class is split up into two 8-week sections, one focusing on gym and fitness, the other focusing on basic swim instruction.

“I thought they would get rid of the gym requirement by the time I graduated,” said Lewandowski, “so I didn’t bother to sign up for the class.”

While being the oldest in a class of fresh faces presents its obvious challenges, Gym Swim has yet to provide a bad experience for Lewandowski.

“I love doing water aerobics,” she said.  “It’s a great way to start my day off.”

On top of the educational benefits, the class has also proven to be an excellent source of social diversity for Lewandowski.  She spends many of her “free days”, or days when students are allowed to choose their activities, getting to know the freshmen through games of water polo and tag.

“I’ve made really great friends with lots of the freshmen,” said Lewandowski.  “I’m really glad I got to meet them before I graduated.”

While Lewandowski’s experience seems to portray the storybook friendship between an upperclassman and a scared younger student, this pleasant experience is not always the case.

Junior Natalie Hohenshil is currently taking a freshmen World History class after transferring to Mercy from Northville last year.

“I took US History as a freshman at Northville,” said Hohenshil, “and I needed to take World History before my senior year in order to graduate.”

While Hohenshil enjoys the class, it has presented some challenges.

“It’s very difficult to make friends,” she said.

Senior Natalie Lewandowski shares a laugh with friends she made in her freshmen Gym Swim class.
Senior Natalie Lewandowski shares a laugh with friends she made in her freshmen Gym Swim class.