Students weigh in on Freshman Seminar

Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion article. The opinions presented are the writer’s own and are not representative of the Trailblazer newspaper staff or Pascack Hills High School.


Martin Shield’s room, one of the rooms where freshman seminar took place. Photo by Suha Niyas.

On Wednesdays, Pascack Hills has an 85-minute period called “Pascack Period,” where students can spend time studying, doing homework, making up assignments, attending learn-to-learn classes, or simply enjoying the free time. Sadly, the freshman class is required to do something different.

From September to the end of January, the freshman class attend “freshman seminar,” a session with teachers or peer mentors talking about topics like grit, which is about perseverance and passion for long-term goals.
According to freshman Ria Sah, freshmen students do not like when their free time is taken away.

Principal Glenn deMarrais spoke of the seminar’s original intention, saying, “Freshman seminar was initially designed to ensure that students were well-prepared and comfortable transitioning to high school.”

However, the class of 2020 does not believe they need a “well-prepared transitioning to high school,” as, according to freshman Gabriel Broadman, they were able to adapt within the first month.

World History and freshmen seminar teacher, Pamela Schwartz, said, “I think it gives students help in certain areas but may not [be] needed in every topic that was mentioned this year. I don’t think it has to go on the first half of the year.”

Many students also believe the course is a waste of time and the topics discussed are common sense to them.
Broadman said, “The material taught to us seemed like it was directed towards kindergarteners. I think we could have spent the time doing more important things like finishing homework.”

DeMarrais said, “With recent feedback from students and teachers, the district administrative team is currently evaluating the effectiveness of the program and considering options that will make it a more valuable and meaningful experience for our freshmen.”

No definitive decision or changes has been made yet, but the committee formed by Dr. Bachenheimer are going to brainstorm new ideas for the seminar.

All in all, the idea of freshman seminar is not beneficial for most of the class of 2020. If we are going to have this class, the duration of freshman seminar should be shorten to a one-month span. The freshmen class is hoping to have a meaningful short, fun seminar or no “freshman seminar” at all in the future.