OPINION: The Preparatory – Tales from the new kid

I have spent my school career from Kindergarten to high school in the Madison public school system. I love basketball, and was unsatisfied with my old school’s athletic program, so I transferred to Prep. Now, as a new senior in a vastly different environment amidst a once in a lifetime pandemic, I thought I would share a few of my observations.

First of all, the school work here is much more difficult. At Germantown, my previous school, I would only have had to take one academic class because I have already finished my other credit requirements.

David Jenkins III. Photo by Cass Rutledge

However, I am quickly learning. My teachers have all been helpful, and I have found classmates to help me catch up outside of class. While I am sometimes discouraged by hard tests and quizzes or an extreme amount of homework, I keep my head up high and keep going.

Last year, I could get all of my schoolwork done, practice basketball, and work at my job during the late afternoons and nights. Now, I have discovered that I cannot do all three. I will have to dial back my work to focus more on school. This also means that I do not have as much time for social activities. Being the new kid in senior year, connections to other students are crucial for clarifying what a teacher said in class, joining a study group, etc. I have been largely deprived of that. As the school year goes on, I hope that will change. I do  not mean to say that I do not have new Prep friends because I do, and they have all been helpful and great towards me.

Coming from a different school, I was well aware of the stereotypes that come with being a student at Prep. That is not something we can ignore. It is something that we should face head on. Pretending like there is not a stigma that comes with attending this school is avoiding the reality. Some things that I have heard in past years are that my new peers are snobby, rich, and stuck up. 

We need to all go out of our way to not have or appear like we have a “better than thou art” attitude and to treat everyone with respect. The only way to rid ourselves of this stigma is to go against it in every setting. No exceptions. We are being watched, and when people see us and what we do, they make our opinions of us then and there, regardless of if they know us or not. There are some people who definitely go against this stereotype, and it is not fair to them to be grouped with all of the people that do fit the stereotype. You might not think you have a “Preppy” attitude, but I challenge you to stop and evaluate yourself to see if you might. Now that I go here, I am having to do it too.

Finally, I would like to point out something about the cafeteria. I have heard many complaints about it from my fellow students, but it is much, much better than public school food. There is no comparison. We have soft drinks and wings here. That is something to be proud of. Good work on the food, Prep.