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Seniors to Sophomores: ‘Don’t Repeat Our Mistakes’


Don’t procrastinate. Learn to manage your time. Do your homework. Work on getting and keeping your grades up.

Those were words of advice from high school seniors who visited sophomore classes recently to help steer their younger peers onto the right path to graduation and beyond. They explained what they would have done differently during their early days of high school, and shared what they wish people would have told them as sophomores. Wyoming High School is a 10th- through 12th-grade school, so the sophomore class is the youngest in the building.

About 50 seniors volunteered to intervene with sophomores because they noticed too many students not focused on their schoolwork, said Cheryl Small, accounting and personal finance teacher.

“My students get frustrated when they see them acting differently than they should be acting,” Small said. “They came to me and said, ‘We want to talk to the sophomores.'”

Senior Luis Rodriguez gives advice to sophomores
Senior Luis Rodriguez gives advice to sophomores

Seniors came up with ideas for connecting with their younger peers by talking about their own regrets and mistakes and the consequences of their actions.

“We are telling you guys to try hard in school,” said senior Luis Rodriguez. “When I was in your position I had Cs and Ds, and now I am like busting my butt trying to get all As. I have a 3.0 exactly, but I could have a 4.0 if I was trying in school like I do now.”

Senior Joey Timm added this: “Don’t tell yourself you’ll wait until next year to get better grades. Do as well as you can from the beginning, because it’s really hard to bring your GPA up than to keep it up.”

Destroy procrastination as a habit, said senior Tan Le.

“Students are the ones in control of what they do, how they do it and how they should do it,” Tan said. “What I wish my parents or my teachers thought to tell me was, ‘Put away your electronics for one hour and just do your homework.'”

Small said her students can be role models for the whole building and inspire younger students to be examples as well. They also shared information on applying for college, volunteering and extracurriculars.

Sophomore Lauren Kramer said she enjoyed hearing from the upperclassmen. “I thought it was nice to hear that point of view to get a perspective on what they felt they need to hear as sophomores,” Lauren said. “I feel like it’s going to help a little bit.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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