Advice to New Students

As recent HBHS graduates, we have learned pretty much all there is to know about HB. Throughout our time here we have been able to learn some lessons with the help of others, and some we had to learn the hard way. As you embark on your high school career this year, there are a few things we think that you should know. 


Being a Transfer Student – Kelsey Sova

Moving to a new town isn’t easy. Having to start at a new school, with people you have never met seems next to impossible. But, not to fear, it is something that anybody can conquer. Hollis Brookline is dedicated to making all students comfortable within the school. As a transfer student myself, I was super nervous to start at a new school. The first day of school is for freshman and transfer students. The staff at HBHS show the transfer students around the school and help them get acclimated to the new school. This assisted in creating the Transfer Mentor Group. Students who were past transfer students have become mentors for those newly transferring in. Over the last four years, this group has helped welcome new students from all grades. The Transfer Mentor Group now has a day, the week before school begins, where all new transfer students come in, get a welcome packet, and a detailed tour of the school. Being the new kid isn’t easy, but transferring to Hollis Brookline is a smooth transition.


Making Friends – Rachel Lindof

When you walk into a new class on the first day of freshman year, it can be overwhelming: a new teacher, new classmates, a new school. Wondering where you should sit, who you should talk to, when to raise your hand–it can be hard if you don’t have any friends in the class, to figure everything out. If none of your friends are in the class, the first thing you should do is make some. Trust me when I say that a class with people who you can make small talk with, who you can ask for help on the homework from, and just people that you can be friendly with is a much better experience than a class where you don’t have that. I know it may be difficult to let your guard down enough to make new friends, but don’t be too stubborn when it comes to this. 


You’re going to be in this class for at least a semester, or likely the full year, and it is going to make it so much easier for you to get through if there’s someone you can talk to, text when you’re absent, or just be able to relate to. If one of your friends happens to be in your class, the first thing you should do together is find someone who doesn’t have any friends in that class. You and your friend together should befriend them because it can be daunting for them to approach you, but if you do, then they now have people in the class they can talk to, and you have a new friend. 


Your high school career is going to be made so much easier if you just have a friend in each of your classes, and I promise that staying to yourself, or being stubborn when it comes to being friendly to new people is not going to serve you well throughout high school.


Building Relationships with your Teachers – Rachel Lindof

I know that as a high school student, it can seem a little pointless to make an effort to have strong relationships with your teachers, but I promise you that it is so important. Eventually, you are going to learn that your whole life is based on relationships; in school, in sports and activities, and in your career. Not only is it important to begin learning how to cultivate important relationships in the safe environment of high school, but you are going to need those relationships in order to get through high school. 


Junior year, you’ll need to ask teachers for recommendations for college, and if you ask a teacher that you don’t have a good and strong relationship, they may deny your request. During senior year, you may need more recommendations when applying for scholarships, and only teachers who you have a good rapport with will be able to help you. 


Even for things that you may not think about how it’s important to build those relationships with your teachers; for example, to apply to be an editor for the CavChron, I needed to provide references consisting of previous English teachers I had had. Even just as a way to help you get through high school, having a teacher or few who you are close with, trust personally, and look up to will help you whenever you may need it. My point is, that you never know when you are going to need the help of a teacher outside of their class. It can be for references, for personal issues, or just for some extra help, but it is important to build those strong connections before you may need them.


The Library Commons – Lauren Rogers

When you walk into the library it can be a little intimidating, but it is one of the best-hidden study spots in the high school. The cushy chairs and tables for your books are perfect to catch a quick nap, study quietly, or have a relaxed conversation with your friends. I found this place during my junior year, and I have used it for any independent work since. I recommend always using the library, and Mrs. Heaton, for all of their resources and help.


School Spirit – Kelsey Sova

In middle school, it’s not cool to dress up for spirit week and show some school spirit. This usually carries into the high school, where the freshmen want to be cool and not dress up. At Hollis Brookline, this is the complete opposite. Spirit week is the biggest week of the school year. Every day leading up to the big pep rally is a different themed day. Everyone that dresses up, earns a point towards their grades final score. There are trailers, skits, dances, and so much more that goes into spirit week. Spirit week is student council run, so be sure to thank your council members, because as a student council member myself, I had firsthand witnessed the work that goes into spirit week. Freshman, don’t be scared to dress up, everyone dresses up.


Another big part of school spirit is sports. Hollis Brookline is a very sports-oriented school. Our girl’s volleyball team plays in Division 1, Lacrosse is in Division 2, and our hockey team is in Division 3. In my four years of high school, most of the sports have won state championships in their respective divisions. Wrestling has won state champions three of the last four years. Going to the games brings a strong sense of school spirit and community. Make sure you get out to a game in each of the seasons, the games are very entertaining.


Clubs and Activities – Kelsey Sova

Going from middle school to high school can be challenging. One way to help yourself get acclimated to your new environment is to join clubs and activities. A copy of all the clubs and activities can be found in the student handbook. There are so many clubs to join. If you are interested in something, chances are, it’s a club. But what if you have an idea for a club that isn’t already a club? As long as you can find a teacher who is willing to be an advisor for the club you want, you can take your idea to administration to get approved. Joining a club or participating in activities is the best and easiest way to get involved in your community and make friends. 


Extended Learning Opportunities – Lauren Rogers

Most people know about the CTE programs that HB offers, but not enough knowledge about our homegrown ELO Program. Run by Dr. Dawn Brealt, the School Psychologist of HB. The ELO program allows students to build their own CTE Program, and is similar to a work-study, but with school course credit. Personally, I did mine on applied psychology and visited the integrated preschool classroom at Richard Maghakian Memorial School in Brookline. This program allows students to get course credit for their interests and gives real-world experience into what their future careers may look like. 


Community College Courses – Rachel Lindof

Many HBHS students don’t know that College doesn’t always have to wait until after they graduate high school. The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) offers NH High School students the opportunity to experience college while still enrolled in high school. The different colleges have their own set of policies for Early College students, so you can do some research and see which one may be best for you. 


Some students only take one or two classes, just to get a feel for what college is like. Some students use their college credits as dual enrollment to fulfill the required credits for HBHS. Some students use this opportunity to just take extra classes in subjects that they are interested in not offered at HB. Some students just take as many classes as they can to get a head start on their post-secondary education and save money on their college education by benefitting from the Early College Discount. 


I myself began taking community college classes in eighth grade, and was able to graduate with my Associate’s Degree the same year I graduated from HBHS; so it is possible to get whatever you want out of this opportunity. There are many different reasons that you may consider enrolling in community college courses during your time here at HBHS–but there are so many benefits to even taking just one course. If this is something that you think you would be interested in or benefit from, you can reach out to your guidance counselor for assistance, or the Early College Coordinator of the school you are interested in directly to discuss your options. 


Running Start Courses – Lauren Rogers

At HB, our math department offers many levels of courses. Including AP, Honors, Running Start/College Prep. For many, it seems like running starts is the “slower class”, but it allows for college credit. I took running start algebra 3 as a way to avoid pre-calc, as math was not my strong suit. In this class, I could honestly say that I retained much more information than in any of my other math classes because I had to work a little harder in that subject. I loved how the teachers were willing to spend extra time on subjects in class and outside of it. I know course selections may be tricky, but consider running start as an option to further your education and reduce your college classes.


We know that you are destined for great things, and as you embark on your high school journey, you will grow so much as an individual. We hope that some of this advice will resonate with you, and help you as you enter this new stage of your life. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish–best of luck, new students!


With love, 

The CavChron Team 2022

Lauren Rogers (Editor in Chief), Rachel Lindof (Assistant Head Editor), and Kelsey Sova (Staff Writer)