tampabay.com

High schoolers tell students about life after 8th grade

By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE
Published January 29, 2007


CRYSTAL RIVER - Sometimes a message is more believable when it comes from the horse's mouth. Perhaps that adage is what prompted Crystal River Middle School educators to ask some Crystal River High School students to talk to their eighth-graders.

Seven high schoolers from teacher Judy Powell's English class recently paid such a visit. Powell also is the director of the CRHS Health Academy. The visiting students, also from the academy, met with eighth-graders in sessions throughout the day, talking to them about high school and even giving them a mini health lesson.

After an icebreaker, the high schoolers - Zachory Lee, Kimber Chewning, Chris Kaiser, Brittany Marino, Alyssa Parker, Chelsea Bennett and Caitlin Camp - talked to the eighth-graders about how to achieve success in high school. They recommended putting effort into grades to avoid remedial classes and gain more time for electives.

Good behavior and grades will allow them to participate in sports and other nonacademic activities, too, the high schoolers said.

They also advised them to do well on the FCAT in 10th grade and get that graduation requirement out of the way.

The health academy students brought a couple of "friends" along. One of them was Joe, a CPR practice dummy. The eighth-graders were allowed to try their hands at compressing the dummy's chest, which turned out not to be as easy as the academy students made it look.

Alyssa, who is a CRHS junior, said the visit was a good idea. She said she and her fellow students wanted to make sure the eighth-graders "didn't come to high school thinking it's something they can fool around with, because every decision they make is going to affect the rest of their lives."

It is important to the high schoolers that the eighth-graders do well, too.

"We're all going to be working together someday," Alyssa said.

As to whether the students will ever know whether their visit made a difference, Powell, the teacher, said it's hard to know, "but you have to do your part."