Freshman Year Zoomed by for FSSA Sophomores

For some sophomores at FSSA, the 2021-22 school year marks the first time they are actually in-person at the school building.

The sophomores at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) have had quite a unique high school experience so far. With most of them having their first year as freshman almost completely remote, there were many speculations as to what they would be like and how they felt being a high school student without experiencing their classmates, teachers and majors in person.

During 5th period lunch there were multiple sophomores from every major willing to share their experiences about the school thus far. Most of the students found that the school is really living up to their expectations, but as freshmen they struggled with online learning and social aspects of being a high school student in a new school. 

“On zoom you can’t meet up in groups and talk to people. The only way I made a few friends in the beginning was an art meetup with all the art people in my class. I think one of the parents organized it.[This year it’s] easier, but also kind of harder because the social situations are so different, like group dynamics, people are still trying to form their own friendships so it’s kind of hard to fit into them,” Remi Paltzman, a sophomore art major said. 

Another common experience was that being in the building made students feel more motivated and passionate about their majors, especially coming from remote learning. Some students felt like being online their first year put them somewhat behind as well, and that being reintroduced to in-person school this year is a completely different experience. 

Students especially experienced difficulty in their studio classes. Although some majors didn’t have much collaborative work within their freshman year, studios such as vocal heavily rely on collaboration in order to create their best works as a studio. 

“When we would have to sing we weren’t ever able to sing at once because there’s delays and stuff when you’re online, and now we get to be together, and singing together and it’s a lot more fun. I love it,” states Curtlyn Ifill, a sophomore vocal major. 

Instrumental major, Kennedy Hamilton had a similar experience, sharing that she wasn’t progressing at all freshman year within her major because they couldn’t play together. She found that when she came in, the instrumental teacher surpassed her expectations because they are specific with what they want. She states that it is really beneficial because it gives her the push she didn’t get before.

“I can say coming from online school, it was really a struggle for me. But now that we’re actually in school in person it actually makes me motivated to do what I came here to do,” she said.

Many of the students firmly believe that their educational experience compared to last year has also improved now that they are able to make personal connections with their academic teachers. Sophomores Isaac Anastas (film major) and Aaliyah Lemons (dance major) knew that the academics were going to be a lot more focused and less lenient than they were used to. They believe that a lot of the enthusiasm is better translated in person, which makes them want to work harder to understand and learn what is being taught. 

The experiences that each student had was of course very individualistic and a time in their lives that is unforgettable and unusual. A lot of the students really enjoy the community that Frank Sinatra High School has created and are thankful that all of the under and upperclassmen are as supportive and nice as they are. Although students didn’t see many flaws within the school system, students such as Jesse Sparks, a sophomore drama major, thinks that the homework load can be a lot at times, but understands it is to his benefit. 

Remi also added to this stating that she doesn’t enjoy how long the days are since she has such a long commute and has to stay at school until 3:00 PM. She also expressed that she thinks that more people should join and create more clubs so everyone can have a way to get closer to new people and do things after school that interest them. 

Overall, there is no doubt that this year will be a much better and beneficial time for the class of 2024. They are excited to keep their grades up, learn more about their major, create more relationships with their fellow classmates and teachers, and most importantly they are excited that their sophomore year won’t be zooming by.

– by Maeve Gopeesingh ’22 and Brianna Almonte ’22