Bradwell Institute showed rising ninth-graders what they can expect when they enter high school this fall during a freshmen fair Tuesday evening.
Bradwell Principal Scott Carrier said the school welcomes 500-550 freshmen, on average, each school year. Carrier said the purpose of the fair is to show students what courses and activities are available and to help them feel more at ease about the transition from middle school to high school.
Eighth-graders from Lewis Frasier, Snelson-Golden and Midway middle schools and their parents toured Bradwell, stopping at numerous booths to speak with teachers and students about the high school’s diverse academic, athletic and extra-curricular offerings.
“I feel pretty welcome around here,” said Midway Middle School student Bryan Hernandez, who attended the fair with his mother, Nancy Floyum.
“You can see what they have as far as programs and clubs,” Floyum said.
Hernandez said he planned to check into band, chorus and sculpture while at the fair.
ROTC cadets held doors open for guests during the freshman orientation, the Tiger band played and Bradwell cheerleaders lined the school’s main hall.
Science teacher Thomas Thornton had several experiments set up for rising ninth-graders to observe, including the standing wave illusion created with a spinning string and strobe lights. Thornton teaches chemistry and physics. He said students must take four sciences in high school. Since only two disciplines are mandatory, a student can take sciences courses such as oceanography. He said another new science course, forensic science, also might be offered this fall.
Sophomore Lily Shelor sat at a throwing wheel, working clay into a pot to demonstrate one of the 3-D art mediums students can learn should they take studio art. Two-dimensional art also is available.
Future Farmers of America chapter President Sarah Whited and FFA member Gretchen Martinez Rodriguez cuddled a white and black rabbit named “Maybelline” for the mascara-like rings around her eyes. Whited said the chapter has more than 100 members. She explained students enrolled in agriculture courses, including horticulture or intro to veterinary science, are automatically FFA members.
FFA adviser Lindsey Martin said some career, technical and agricultural education pathways, like agriculture or early childhood education, are taught at Bradwell. Other CTAE courses, such as manufacturing, are offered at the Liberty College and Career Academy.
“There’s a lot of excitement in ag right now,” Martin said. “We’re growing.”
She said if enough students demand a certain agricultural subject that is not already taught, the ag program tries to offer it. Forestry, one of Georgia’s fastest-growing industries, is one course that soon might be made available, Martin said. According to a study released by the Georgia Forestry Commission, employment in the forest industry rose by 7 percent to 49,497 jobs between the years of 2011-12, and the industry generated $603 million in state revenue.
Sophomore Tiffany Jones said she completed the early childhood education pathway. Jones said the course helped her learn children’s developmental milestones.
“I want to be a pediatrician,” she said.
Bradwell student Morgan Rafferty said her favorite subject is social studies.
“We’re learning about the presidents,” Rafferty said. “I like learning about their backgrounds and how they came to be president.”
Rafferty and her classmates, Christopher Crumling, Irish Wingfield and Kamryn Johnson, dressed in costume and helped teacher Ana Boynton man the social-studies booth. Boynton and her department colleagues teach history, government and economics.
Wingfield, a ninth-grader, said her first few days at Bradwell were a little overwhelming, until she learned her way around the building. She said she constantly referred to a map of the school that first week, “and then it just clicks in.”
Crumling advises new freshmen to make friends with upper classmen.
“You learn more, and they help you out a lot,” he said.