Pyle students get taste of high school early, experience classes at Whitman

By Elyssa Seltzer

Every day, hundreds of high schoolers walk through Whitman’s double doors, passing students they’ve never talked to. Among them, however, are several middle schoolers who chose to brave the high school hallways and take classes at Whitman.

These Pyle eighth graders attend Whitman for advanced math and foreign language classes. Beyond the different curricula, Whitman classes offer different class settings, workloads and teachers than the students have at Pyle.

Taking classes at Whitman affords these students more freedom to explore subjects that interest them.

“You have the privilege of taking something you enjoy,” eighth grader Jenna Fields said, who takes Russian 1.

Since Pyle only offers French 1 and 2, junior Lindsey Keiser commuted to Whitman every morning in eighth grade to take Honors French 3, forming a good relationship with her teacher early.

“I have been taking French since I was in kindergarten, and my parents sort of coerced me into taking the most advanced level,” Keiser said. “I bonded with Madame Beach, my teacher, and now I have her three years later for AP.”

Foreign language teachers from both schools encourage middle school students to challenge themselves by taking classes at Whitman. They believe the experience provides students a chance to acquire a cultural grasp on different languages and backgrounds earlier in their education.

“There is nothing more important in this global world than to understand other cultures and understand other points of view.”

— Italian teacher Olga Mancuso Moscato

“Culture comes through language,” Italian teacher Olga Mancuso Moscato said. “There is nothing more important in this global world than to understand other cultures and understand other points of view.”

Teachers and administrators from both schools work to accommodate these students’ complex schedules, which require a trek from Whitman to their Pyle classes after first period. Issues still arise with scheduling and transportation; however, the bus depot helps out with transportation when feasible.

“As far as Pyle goes, I usually found the administration there to be relatively accommodating,” junior Amanda Levy said. Levy took Honors Algebra 2 at Whitman in eighth grade.

As for Whitman, Levy said that when modified schedules occurred, the administration often failed to inform affected students, sometimes causing them to get to Pyle late.

“Sometimes on half days or days with an adjusted schedule, our bus wouldn’t show up, which was annoying especially on rainy or cold days,” junior Celia Shapiro said. “If that happened, the secretaries would call the bus depot to see what happened. Usually the county would send another bus or we would walk, arriving at Pyle late.”

Still, most students said they enjoyed taking classes at Whitman. They tended to prefer Whitman’s shortened, daily classes and increased degree of responsibility.

“The quality of class is much higher at Whitman than at Pyle,” Levy said. “The quickened pace of teaching and shorter class periods at Whitman helped me stay engaged as a student, whereas at Pyle I often found school monotonous.”