The Switch from Private to Public

The Switch from Private to Public

Katherine Schiraldi, Staff

Walking down the hallways in a public school, you shouldn’t be surprised to find an atmosphere uniquely different from the rest. Swear words are spoken with an almost professional ease, and you can always find someone clogging up the halls with news about the latest gossip. The unfiltered talks in a public school are very different from what is heard in private schools.

Based on my experience at a private school, there are more rules and regulations about what happens in the hallways. Dress codes are enforced, a specific religion, in my case, is stressed, and there are a smaller number of students as well.

While these characteristics are commonly known, what happens when a student moves from a private to a public school? The two environments can be very different and can have varying effects on students. Transitioning to high school is already a challenge in itself, so what is it like for students transitioning from a private school to a public school?

“My parents were like freaking out my first day like ten times more than I was,” said 9th grader Jenna Fischer. “And I don’t know if it was like based on the swearing but like…just based on like going to a new environment.” Overall, Fischer’s parents were not apprehensive about placing their kids in a public school; neither were another ninth grader Sarah Shedivy’s parents.

It is commonly known that students of all grades do not always have the best filter on their words and actions. Shedivy commented on the frequent use of profanities, “I mean people did swear, but they just had to do it a lot more secretly.” Fischer did not have much to say about it, adding, “I don’t know. I’m fine with it.”

For Fischer and Shedivy, the transition was simple. They both had the same struggles as most high schoolers when coming to a new school: leaving behind friendships and forging new ones.

There are other differences between these schools as well. Dress codes are not usually enforced heavily in public schools, a positive aspect in my experience. Although this topic can swing both ways, allowing students to express themselves via their clothing, choices gives them the opportunity to further develop their identity. High school revolves around change and growth. High school is one of the best times in a student’s life to develop their sense of style.

Another major difference is the diverse student population. At JM, there is a much more diverse student population than my previous private school. I, along with Fischer and Shedivy, attended a Catholic school in Rochester. When coming to JM, I was happy and excited to see a variety of races and ethnicities. I felt as if I were in the real world, where there are numerous kinds of people from different parts of the world. I do not regret my time at a Catholic school, but I felt a major impact when coming to JM. Most important of all, I felt like I was growing as a person.

For these ninth graders (and myself), transitioning to public school was a success. When asked if they were happy with their decision to come to a public school, the girls both gave an emphatic, “Yes.” With a grin reaching from cheek to cheek, Fischer replied, “Absolutely, because like, I don’t know, there’s like more people here and you can have more friends and it’s just like, it’s just more great.” I completely agree.