Bridge program eases transition to RB

60 incoming freshmen participate

Freshmen in the summer Bridge Program got a chance to visit the Brookfield Zoo as part of their welcome to RB.

Courtesy of Kathy Wszynski

Freshmen in the summer Bridge Program got a chance to visit the Brookfield Zoo as part of their welcome to RB.

Robby Filec, Features Editor

This summer, 60 plus incoming freshmen attended the Summer Bridge Program. Summer Bridge is a program meant to help assimilate kids into high school, with the program being the bridge and the transition to high school being the metaphorical river.  Freshman Frankie Filec was one of those students. Before this program, he was apprehensive about high school and the difficulties that could come with a new school. After the program, he was confident and eager to take high school by storm and have a good time starting the new chapter in his life.  What happened there that changed the outlook of one fourteen year old?

Initially, the Summer Bridge Program was created by former Assistant Principal Tim Scanlon ten years ago. He wanted to help kids who needed extra help. Back then, however, it was essentially required summer school. Students would read their summer reading books together and do a scavenger hunt around the school. Not just freshman would participate in the event. If you were an upperclassmen and needed help, you could be required to go.

Now, the Bridge Program has changed into something else entirely. It is now available for all incoming freshmen.  They are exposed to many aspects of the building, like rock climbing, applied arts, computer  and animation, and RBTV.  Students even take a trip to the zoo.  Core teachers Sarah Johnson, Kevin Dybas, and Kathy Wyszynski taught the primary curriculum on the program.  Teachers Bill Frey, Sandy Czajka, Patti Farlee, Gary Prokes and Patty Sarkady also all participated in helping with the program which was meant to familiarize students with staff.

Many students from different clubs came in to tell the freshmen to be what clubs were fun and what they did in them.  Members of Student Association, K. Kyle Braid, and different athletic teams talked about what they did and why freshmen should join their clubs.

“It was awesome to see the new freshmen and have the chance to show them what it’s like to be a Bulldog and how they can be involved,” junior Andrew Pilewski said.  Pilewski is on the SA Executive Board and participates on soccer, tennis, and other activities.  Students like Pilewski took time with the bridge program to show freshmen how to get involved at RB.

From the main feeder schools Hauser, Gross, and Komarek, roughly 50 students attended the program.  The other ten percent came from Catholic schools like St. Paul’s or St. Barbara’s.  This represents an unusually high amount of students, never seen before in the program.